Top 5 Police Blunders: Dirty Harry, Pakastani Cop Beats Pregnant Wife
Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 9:00 am
Some jobs just can't be beat. Like making $63,486/year for nearly four years while the union protests your dismissal. Jason Schriver has been on suspension since January 2007, after running a plate for an acquaintance in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
The 41-year old offiver checked a particular license plate number after his acquaintance told him his car had been hit and he wanted to contact the driver without going through insurance. When Schriver pulled up the plate, it turned out to be a RCMP undercover car, and set off flags in the main office. His lawyer says once Schriver realized what was going on, there was no passing of information and he took the person to task for his actions.
The department tried to fire Shriver, but it was thrown out in December 2008. The judge called dismissal "wholly disproportionate to his offense. It's been on appeal ever since. The police say they have a fresh charge to bring against him, but evidently they have TVs in the john, because they can't get off the can.
Fleece the Government sounds like a title from Parker Brothers, but it's actually the plan of British counter-terrorism officer Darren Pooley. The 41-year old was staying in Leeds, England investigating the British subway bombings (three of the perpetrators had lived there).
When the investigating officers arrived they were initially put up at hotels at a cost of £3000 ($4680 dollars)/month each. It was while they were putting on the Ritz that Pooley met his eventual wife. After a time, they were moved down to so-called "full-service" apartments (they check your dipstick and fill you with gas?) at £2000/month.
Perhaps he was out drinking with his future wife's brother-in-law, Stephen Butler, when Pooley and Butler, a real estate broker, hatched a scheme to sub four "not fully-serviced" (pasty breakfast and hand-size boxes of cereal?) apartments that hey charged the department the same price for. They pocketed the £1300 difference in price from April '06 to September '07 (roughly $48,000).
So would you completely hose yourself for a chance at $24,000? Pooley was a well-heralded officer who'd risen through the ranks quickly and been honored for his bravery. He received a three-year jail sentence and his wife, Nicola, has divorced him. Now, looking at her, you might not feel the same pangs of loss he will after having made hash of his life. Sometimes a little circumspection's advised before you bite the hand that feeds you.
It wasn't a good night for three dancers from Lahore, Pakistan who were on their way to Gujranwala to perform at a marriage ceremony. They were stopped by police at a checkpoint -- and knowing a good thing when they saw it -- sent them back to the station in Sahoki like a box of chocolate covered cherries.
Once there it was like an episode of Pakistan's Got Talent, as they were forced to perform the Malaika Arora song "Munni Badnam Hui" one by one. "Munni Badnam Hui" is from the mega-hit from the movie Dabangg, and is sort a cross between "You're the One That I Want" from Grease and the Macarena. But Pakistan cops aren't even as good-spirited as those from The Shield: After they finished their dances, they were booked and held for two days before they could make bail.
Give the Pakistani courts points for poetic justice -- the station chief & his entire staff have been arrested and are now being held in the same lock-up where they held the dancing girls captive.
With the way things have gone in Mexico President Felipe Calderon's War On Drugs, it sometimes feels like the Federales are armed with slingshots. (Ay Caramba!) The numbers are staggering. Since its beginning in December 2006, 31,000 people have been killed. Methamphetamine has surpassed Marijuana as the key cash trade for the cartels, raising the stakes even further. The U.S. Justice Department estimates profits have grown from $25 to nearly $40 billion last year.
Meanwhile choosing a new police chief has become a game Noes Goes. In November, Hermilia Garcia Quinones was named chief of police in Meoqui, Chihuahua, Mexico. This weekend she was found dead in her car.
A single woman who lived with her parents (when you don't date much you don't mind dying), Quinones didn't have a security detail or carry a weapon. "If you don't owe anything, you don't fear anything," she told people. Only the naïve (or ignorant) can live without fear. There are many circumstances you don't have to be paranoid to be rightly concerned about; being named a Mexican Police Chief landing near the top of the list. In April, state police chief Minerva Bautista, survived having 1700 rounds fired into her armor car. (She resigned.)
Indeed, the job is so dangerous most men won't take it. (Women see where I'm going with this.) Of course valor and intelligence sometimes comes with a healthy dose of delusion. Last month, the woman dubbed "Bravest Woman in Mexico", Marisol Valles was appointed chief of police in Praxedis, a "key drug smuggling rout". The criminology student took the position because "no one else would". The prior police chief had been kidnapped and his head was placed outside the police station just days after. Had a little trouble finding applicants after that.
Give Calderon credit, despite 49% of the population suggesting the war is a failure, he's stuck to his guns and only dug in deeper. (Hmmm, does this remind you of anybody?) When the crypto-religious gang La Familia killed 12 officers in July 2009 after the arrest of La Familia capo Arnoldo Rueda Medina, Calderon surged in with 5000 more troops. In June an ambush killed 10 more federal officers.
But their efforts aren't fruitless. On Tuesday they arrested another leader of La Familia, an evangelical gangsta group (no, I'm not making this up) who uses pseduo-religious philosophy to justify the grisly murders of rivals and keep its own traffickers from abusing drugs. ("If you're gonna be in the Family/How you qualify is never get high off your own supply.") Seven La Familia bosses in Morelia, including regional coordinator Arnoldo Rueda Medina, have been arrested by the Federal Police in the past two years.
Yet the question remains whether it's having any effect. La Familia offered to disband early last month if the federal government promised to defend the region from other drug gangs. (They made a similar offer the year before, sort of a Christmas offering.) While some suggest their offer is a sign the gang's losing power, other analysts think the calls for dialogue are a part of La Familia's propaganda campaign to maintain support from locals and they doubt that the gang has been seriously disrupted. Even if it is disrupted, many argue it would only mean a change of whose hands control is consolidated and not any real end to cartel activity or violence.
Calderon's war is losing support like all wars do -- amplified by the rampant corruption, and that fact that many of the cartel's leaders remain untouched. One of La Familia's top leaders, Nazario Moreno, who gained notoriety with a booklet of self-help slogans (anybody really can do it, and by that I mean, sell a self-help book), remains at large. "They still have not gotten the bosses," said an avocado farmer. "There are a lot of people who everyone knows are drug traffickers, and they are walking around like it's nothing." Almost like Wall Street bankers...
To hear Dattawadi assistant police inspector Bramhananda Naikwadi, it was the most mundane of experiences. He merely remarked to his wife that (dramatic re-enactment) "while her food was keeping the rats away, the garbage disposal wants to kill itself."
Somehow his pregnant wife took offense to this simple observation, forcing him to correct her. "I had just slapped her and a big issue was made out of it," he told a reporter. She called a mutual friend on the force and officers were called to his house. They say Naikwadi was drunk and stopped them from entering his house. However, they barged inand rescued his wife, with whom he has two children already.
There is reason to doubt the husband rather than the wife. Last year Naikwadi faced a judicial probe for assaulting a jeweler in 2009, when he was attached to the Kothrud police station. In 2008, Naikwadi was accused of stripping a farmer accused of attempted murder, tying his hands and feet to a wood pole then beating the soles of his feet and demanding he dance.
If that doesn't totally capture Naikwidi's character, there's the charge that he was in contact with two suspects involved in the murder of gangster Kishore Marne at a hotel in January. Additionally Naikwadi's telephone contacts with the assailants of Marne have gone missing from the crime branch office. He was suspended in August, and had only recently reinstated. Sounds like a sweetheart, eh?
It's not that cops are bad so much as human, and some of our moral compasses are incapable of determining in which direction True North lies. You'll find them, like Naikwadi, digging themselves deeper and deeper.
Read last Thursday's Top 5 Police Blunders: Derrick Yancey Convicted Of Killing Wife & The Day Laborer Intended As Patsy.