6 Real Police Screw-Ups That Put Chief Wiggum to Shame
Let's just say right off the top that police officers have a tough job, and there's literally no one else we want to call if somebody with a crowbar is chasing us down an alley. And even articles like this go to show what a massive responsibility they have -- when these guys screw up on the job, shit can go just ridiculously wrong.
Some Cops Are Embarrassingly Ignorant About Marijuana
Supporters of marijuana legalization have long held that their opponents are shifty-eyed narcs who willfully exaggerate the negative effects of whacking the weed (or however the kids describe it these days) or, worse yet, are woefully misinformed about a substance responsible for roughly one arrest every 42 seconds in the United States. And, really, it's hard not to agree when you see drug busts executed about as methodically as a game of "Pin the Cuffs on the Pothead" played with extra-thick blindfolds.
Marking one of the few times cuffs and blindfolds come together in a PG way.
For instance, in Kansas, police noticed some suspicious plants in the backyard of a former mayor, decided it must be pot, and got a warrant to raid that shit. Keep in mind, to get said warrant they had to photograph the suspicious plants, show them to a prosecutor, who got a search warrant from a judge -- everyone agreed the plants had to be cannabis. The cops showed up to raid the home of the senior citizens and found the plants to be ... sunflowers. But hey, you can't blame the cops in Kansas for not recognizing their official state flower. It's not like they have it at the top of their state flag or anything ...
Turns out Dorothy didn't have to go far to find people who needed a brain.
Not that this is some kind of hilarious isolated incident -- U.K. police ended up getting frisky with a 79-year-old woman after spotting tomato plants in her window and tearing apart her home of 53 years, on suspicion of it being a secret cannabis factory. Look, these are the risks we just have to take -- imagine if police did nothing and our grandmothers were just allowed to grow weed unchecked. The destructive effects on society would be unfathomable, in the sense that we're really having trouble fathoming any.
She is the one who knocks.
If it's starting to look like lots of police are ridiculously uninformed when it comes to pot, wait until you hear the case made by Chief Michael Pristoop. Tapped by Maryland's Senate to offer his expertise on the dangers of decriminalizing pot, Chief Pristoop eagerly pointed to the 37 people who died of marijuana overdose on the first day Colorado legalized it. Holy shit! That's the kind of statistic that could stop any weed-vocate mid-puff ... at which point they would hopefully spend 20 seconds on Google debunking it as bullshit.
Had Pristoop bothered, he might have realized that statistic came from a hoax article satirizing people just like him. Whatever problems weed may cause in your life, it's almost impossible to overdose on it. But hey, why would you expect a guy in charge of enforcing drug laws to know that?
Sheriff Conducts School-Shooter Training ... With Steven Seagal
You might have heard of Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- he's remarkably famous for a sheriff (can you name another one? Even your own?). That's because he turns up in headlines every year or so due to his nose for publicity and his Yosemite Sam-levels of tough-guy bluster. For example, one time he recruited Lou "'the Incredible Hulk" Ferrigno to help his volunteer posse hunt down illegal immigrants. That sort of thing.
"Don't make me wear pink underwear. You wouldn't like me when I wear pink underwear."
So you may not be surprised to hear that Arpaio decided that the key to ending school violence was to deploy a pack of Seagal-trained sentinels to patrol schools. We are not speaking figuratively.
He uses the goatee to hide his emergency donut.
If you're wondering what Seagal has to offer in a real life-or-death situation besides cardboard acting and a molasses-slow fight sequence, let us remind you that he commanded his own group of deputies in the reality TV series Steven Seagal: Lawman, wherein he teamed up with Arpaio to obliterate someone's house with an honest-to-God tank. So his involvement with combating child murder was sure to be handled tastefully. Which is to say it kicked off with a highly publicized press conference to announce that the action-movie star would use his mastery of Slow Fu to instruct Arpaio's posse on self-defense tactics for fighting off crazed gunmen. Arpaio and Seagal got together one weekend at an abandoned school with some young volunteers (and some reporters that just so happened to be in the area).
WARNING: If you see a man who looks like this in your school or place of work, evacuate immediately.
To prepare Sheriff Blowhard's posse for camera-worthy kid-saving, several members of his team posed as shooters and chased around teenage volunteers as they screamed for help, firing nonlethal projectiles at their feet. But as we all know, school shooting simulations are just fun, games, and publicity until someone gets hurt. And there was definitely hurting in the cards for two volunteer students as fake ammunition ricocheted off of random surfaces (as projectiles are wont to do), nicking the ear of one person and gashing the forehead of another.
But it's no biggie. That kind of minor mishap isn't at all predictive of a scenario where random men volunteer to bring their real guns and bullets into a school building. That shit is sure to come off without a hitch.
Undercover Officers Build a Device That Protesters Are Arrested for Using
In December 2011, police, wary of reports of violence and sexual assaults in the Occupy Wall Street protests, decided to infiltrate the movement in Austin, Texas, and shut that shit down ... hard. Rick Reza and Deek Moore were the two men assigned to the task -- undercover officers by day, protesters by night known as "Rick" and "Dirk" (OK, this may not have been a deep-cover situation here). They went right to work to expose the filthy underbelly of the Occupy group and find out what illegal shit they were planning for their next sit-in. Or, rather, to suggest some illegal shit.
"Flash mobs sound cool, but what about flash guns?"
They were thus able to talk the protesters into using an illegal device called a lockbox (or the much more badass Game of Thrones-ish name, "dragon sleeve"). It's basically a length of pipe that allows protesters to lock arms together, and if it's constructed well, it can be a massive pain in the ass to remove. And when we say the undercover cops "suggested" this, we mean they bought the supplies needed (PVC pipe, carabiners, and bolts), designed it, and set about constructing it. These guys were heaven-sent, as far as the Occupiers knew.
Upon completion of the device, Rick and Dirk sent it into the world like the Lucius Fox to Occupy's Batman. The protesters used it, and it was a rousing success -- they blocked that road so well that seven protesters were arrested. If they hadn't used the device, they would have faced only a misdemeanor charge. Thanks to Ricky and Dirk, however, they all faced felony charges for possession of a criminal instrument, with a potential sentence of two years in state prison.
"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power.
Then when you get the power, then you become an inflatable arm tube man."
The officers maintained that they built the device only to ensure the safety of everyone involved (see, otherwise the protesters could have hypothetically constructed an unsafe version of said criminal instrument, so they had to get out in front of that shit). Still, the protesters who got arrested had their felony charges dismissed, and instead they pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of blocking the road, receiving no fines or jail time.
U.K. Police Unwittingly Prank a Sports Stadium With Fake Explosives
Even before 9/11, it really wasn't cool to leave bomb-shaped objects lying around. But now? If you turn up in a public place with an object that could possibly be a pipe bomb, or suitcase bomb, or one of those round black bombs like they have in old cartoons and video games (did those ever actually exist, by the way?), you can expect to get tackled by several cops before you get through the door. So you can imagine that one would need to be extra careful if one's job involved handling objects specifically designed to look like real bombs.
Cosplay as a Bob-omb at your own risk.
That brings us to a soccer match between the Wolverhampton Wanderers and some other equally British-sounding team. At some point before the match, West Midland police decided it was a capital idea to use Wanderers' Molineux Stadium for a rigorous training exercise which involved handling fake explosives that were planted in the executive box. But through some unknown sequence of careless boobery, the officers left the stadium, but didn't take their fake bomb with them.
"Don't judge. You called us when you locked your keys in your car. You're no better."
The positive in all of this is that the fans at the stadium did exactly the right thing -- somebody spotted the bomb and notified security, who immediately started evacuating the stadium. In the middle of that process, however, somebody called the police who immediately realized that the "bomb" sounded super familiar ("So that's where that thing went!").
To the police department's credit, they did admit they'd screwed up and didn't try to claim it was all secretly a test of the stadium's terror preparedness drills ("Congratulations, you passed! You all, uh, get one free day to speed however much you want.")
Related: 5 Sports Fans Who Ruined Sports
Undercover Police Set Up a "Brothel" in the Middle of a Residential Neighborhood
Aurora, Illinois -- not the kind of place notorious for its high crime rate or sex trafficking. So you can imagine the shock of local residents when, out of nowhere, a brothel started brazenly operating during daylight hours in an idyllic subdivision that looks like this ...
Unless Google Street View is lying.
... with obvious hookers and Johns coming in and out while children were playing right next door. How can the cops just allow something like that to happen?
But, as you have probably guessed by now, it's because it was their brothel.
Complete with unlimited handcuffs for the kinkier clientele.
Yes, to crack down on prostitution they totally set up their own brothel in a vacant house, right in the middle of the quiet suburb. In May of 2013, whores from all over were invited, and they showed up to work in typical prostitute garb, with horny Johns soon to follow. So in that sense, it worked -- 10 people were sent to jail (six prostitutes, four customers -- so, yay?) and for two days parents were no longer required to take their children to the seedier sections of town to see "working girls" in action. For some reason, neighbors didn't see this as a benefit and complained.
But, really, isn't it worth having the police open a brothel next door to you, as long as it will result in arrests that will prevent prostitution from spreading? After all, if that shit goes unchecked the next thing you know you've got a brothel right next d- Hey! Wait a second!
It's the perfect setup for a sitcom. Also called Leave It to Beaver.
And while we're on the subject ...
Undercover Officers Visit Massage Parlor on Three Separate Occasions, Get Off Each Time
Let's back up for a moment. In theory, prostitution is illegal because it's terrible for young, vulnerable women -- underage girls get lured or forced into the business, where they're usually victimized by the pimps, Johns, or both. They're often doing it purely to support a drug habit and in general are forced to live at the shitty end of society. Of course, society's solution to that is to occasionally throw said women in jail (that should fix it, right?). But this is exactly why vice squad cops aren't allowed to have sex with prostitutes during their investigations (well, other than in Hawaii) -- just the offer of sex for money is all it takes to make an arrest. Otherwise you're, you know, kind of perpetuating somebody's victimization. But let's just say that there is apparently quite a bit of gray area in those rules ...
In 2005, officer Ron Moore was tasked with the dangerous job of going undercover and exposing vice in the city of Lynnwood, Washington. His job was to infiltrate an establishment of alleged ill repute, the Classic Body Tonic Spa, posing as a customer. He was given $80 of department money and was wished godspeed on what was sure to be an incredibly perilous assignment.
Especially if the masseuse just ate.
He entered the den of iniquity, his heart racing and hands trembling, we assume. He was told to strip naked in the backroom. He bravely handed an Asian woman, Kim, $60 for a (deadly?) body wash. And then (according to the hilarious affidavit filed with the court and obtained by The Smoking Gun), he maintained his composure while the young Asian woman massaged his asshole 24 times in four minutes (he kept track). She obliviously continued soaping him up and down, until he bravely rolled over and allowed her to fondle his junk. After a thorough dong wash, Moore was offered oral sex.
"Fuck the police?"
Sadly, he had only $20 left, just enough for a topless handjob (which he bravely received to completion, while fondling the woman's breasts). Time for the cops to bust this shit up, right? Wrong. This is why you are not a cop.
No, Moore needed to go deeper. So, he arranged a second trip, just to make sure -- and this time he brought another intrepid officer along. This time Moore was assaulted by two naked women at the same time (his allowance had been increased to $200). His partner, Officer Brooks, braved an orgasm from another woman. Boom -- they had proven that the previous handjob was not just an isolated incident or a wacky cultural misunderstanding. Time to take down the operation and dispense some justice!
Among other things.
But again, Moore knew that the key to any investigation is patience. Sure, he knew that at least three women that worked there would perform sex acts, but what about the hostess? He couldn't leave this job without taking it to completion, so during another two-on-one session, he cleverly asked for the older woman who greets people at the door to join in, and she did. Well played, sir! Finally, Officer Moore had enough evidence (and no more money). As a result of all this fine detective work, two of the women were charged with prostitution and the world was made safer for ... someone. Probably.
But wait, did they learn their lesson? Is that parlor continuing to offer happy endings to customers willing to pay? Damn it, chief, there is only one way to find out.
A cop's hard work is never done.
For more professional screw-ups, check out The 5 Most Terrifying Ways Doctors Went Crazy on the Job and 5 Horrifying Tales Of 911 Incompetence.
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