May 29, 2013

Charles Oliver: Police’s ambition: Avoid rocks

Charles Oliver

— • Sweden has been rocked by several nights of rioting by immigrant youth recently. So what are the police doing about it? Not much. “Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving told a local newspaper. Officials explain that if the police try to crack down on the rioters they get rocks thrown at them.

• Brooke Bass served as an attorney for Minnesota’s largest law enforcement union for six years, and judging by her photos, she’s a fairly attractive woman. That may be why employees in more than 100 agencies across the state improperly accessed her driver’s license data more than 700 times during the past eight years. She’s not the only one, improper use of police databases appears to be rampant in the North Star state. A report from the Legislative Auditor’s office found that more than half of law enforcement personnel with access to the driver’s license database could have made improper searches of it.

• A Nevada state audit found that prison inmates may have improperly received some $5 million in unemployment payments during the past three years.

• Deonna Harris says she was confused when a yearbook staff member told her they were going to have to retake her photo. She thought the first one had been just fine. But the staff member said the yearbook adviser had said the first photo couldn’t run because it showed Harris’s belly. Harris is pregnant, and officials at White Cloud High School have ruled that pregnant students can appear in the yearbook only if there’s no sign they are expecting. Superintendent Barry Seabrook told local media that showing a student’s baby bump in the yearbook would violate Michigan’s abstinence-only approach to sex education.

• A Swedish court has sentenced a man to 100 hours of community service for racial agitation. The man, who wasn’t named by local media, was captured on a stadium TV performing the Hitler salute during a soccer match between Sweden and Ukraine. The man says he was too drunk at the time to realize the gesture was inappropriate.

• The British Medical Association and Big Brother Watch, a privacy advocacy group, are warning that a plan to centralize medical records could risk the privacy of millions of residents of the United Kingdom. The plan would require doctors to send patient data to a central database run by the National Health Service’s Health and Social Information Center. Supporters say sharing the information will help improve health care.

• Hila Ben Baruch came out of her Tel Aviv, Israel, apartment building one day to find her car gone and the space she’d parked it in painted as a handicapped parking space. When Ben Baruch called to find out what had happened to her car, she found it had been towed and a city worker accused her of illegally parking in a handicapped space. But she found that the building across the street’s security cameras had captured city workers painting the handicapped space around her car. Later, another city worker came along and ticketed the car and had it towed.

Charles Oliver is a staff writer for The Daily Citizen.