The Los Angeles Police Department approved a test program to deploy drones alongside its officers on Tuesday, with the Police Commission voting 3-1 to roll out a year-long "small Unmanned Aerial System" program.
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It's been roughly two years since Microsoft released a new Windows Phone, and it looks like the company has basically decided its awful, single-digit market share warrants a reimagined approach which might not come for some time. So it's a little strange the NYPD, which is so much larger and well equipped than any other police force in the US it's won ominous comparisons to a full-size army, decided to equip its officers with Microsoft mobile devices.
Axon (the company formerly known as Taser) claims that their stun guns have only directly killed 24 people, and that those deaths were due to falls or fires related to the strikes, not because of shocks to the body. But a new investigative report by Reuters found 1005 cases in the United States where a person died after police used the weapon on them.
On Tuesday, the Baltimore Public Defender's Office released footage it says shows officers planting drugs and staging their discovery for body cameras, the second such video to be released in the last two weeks. Prosecutors have now dropped more than 40 felony cases that relied on testimony from the officers seen in the videos.
Days after a Baltimore cop was suspended for unwittingly filming himself apparently planting evidence, the Baltimore Public Defender's Office has announced that they have uncovered a second video, with a different group of cops, which also "appears to depict multiple officers working together to manufacture evidence". Additionally, prosecutors announced on Friday that they will drop felony drug and guns charges in 34 cases linked to testimony from the three officers in the original video. As many as 77 cases are still being reviewed.
Unsurprisingly, the latest AI advancement in body camera technology comes no closer to increasing police accountability or officer transparency. As the public's push for body cameras has died down, tech companies are now making their own appeal for body cameras to the police departments that buy them: Offering sharper, smarter surveillance.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that the head of the Ukrainian Cyber Police is seeking criminal charges against the Ukrainian tax software company that was the first victim of the crippling NotPetya malware attack. Now, it has come to light that the firm's servers have been seized by authorities.
On Wednesday, a US federal judge ruled that the sound emitted from the NYPD's Long Range Acoustic Devices -- portable sound cannons that blast noise -- could be considered a use of force, contrary to the police department's claims. The LRAD can blast sound as loudly as 136 decibels. That's louder than a jackhammer or a jet engine and above the 120 db threshold for immediate human hearing loss.
Some poor beleaguered souls working at a 7-Eleven in Oregon were just trying to serve up some Big Gulps and hot dogs when their microwave suddenly exploded. They called the cops, and when the proper authorities checked out the situation, they didn't find a bomb. Instead, they say it contained a urine sample.
On Thursday, the US Center for Constitutional Rights challenged the NYPD's body camera policies, asking a judge to block the city's forthcoming pilot program, which is slated to outfit 1000 officers with body cameras as early as next week. The cameras were supposed to be a step forward for police accountability and transparency, but the CCR says the current policy dictating their use gives officers too much discretion about when to record, and makes it too difficult for the public to see the footage after the fact.
On Friday, the New York Police Department, the largest police department in the US with about 34,000 officers, released its body camera policies. The NYPD held extensive public comments and met with several civil rights groups, but the policies are largely a disaster and undermine the goals of the body camera technology -- accountability and transparency.