California: Court Slams Cops Over Bogus Camera Stop

Female motorist can sue police who held her at gunpoint after automated license plate reader mistakes her Lexus sedan for a stolen pickup. An innocent woman forced to her knees, held at gunpoint, handcuffed and surrounded by multiple San Francisco, California police officers can proceed with her lawsuit for false arrest. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that the officers were potentially liable for using excessive force against Denise Green after an automated license plate reader (ALPR or ANPR in Europe) mistakenly flagged her vehicle as stolen. On March 30, 2009, a camera mounted on a police car on Mission Street took a blurry photo of Green’s burgundy Lexus ES300 which the automated system confused for a stolen gray GMC pickup truck. After being alerted to the “hit” over the radio, San Francisco Police Sergeant Ja Han Kim saw Green’s car pass by. He neither confirmed the license plate number on the car nor the make and model of the stolen vehicle. Instead, he called for backup and initiated a high-risk felony stop. Green, a 47-year-old black woman, was held for twenty minutes before one of the six officers got around to checking her license plate. Green sued for false arrest, but a federal district granted the officers immunity. The appellate judges disagreed, finding evidence of negligence. San Francisco Police Department policy recognizes ALPR readings are often faulty. Officers are supposed to verify the vehicle and the license plate before performing any stop. Sergeant Kim thought the camera squad car would have performed the verification, and the camera car driver, Officer Alberto Esparza, thought the...

Colorado DMV Investigated for Offensive Computer Passwords

No surprises here for those of us who routinely work with DMV. Fox31 in Denver broke the story that hearing officers who are supposed to be impartial are using very anti-motorist passwords for their computers. Hearing Officers were using passwords such as “URSkrood,” “CryMrRvr,”...

Driving Under the Influence, of Marijuana

MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKERFEB. 17, 2014 If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunken driving, the police officer is likely to ask you to complete three tasks: Follow a pen with your eyes while the officer moves it back and forth; get out of the car and walk nine steps, heel to toe, turn on one foot and go back; and stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Score well on all three of these Olympic events, and there’s a very good chance that you are not drunk. This so-called standard field sobriety test has been shown to catch 88 percent of drivers under the influence of alcohol. But it is nowhere near as good at spotting a stoned driver. In a 2012 study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, only 30 percent of people under the influence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, failed the field test. And its ability to identify a stoned driver seems to depend heavily on whether the driver is accustomed to being stoned. A 21-year-old on his first bender and a hardened alcoholic will both wobble on one foot. But the same is not necessarily true of a driver who just smoked his first joint and the stoner who is high five days a week. In another study, 50 percent of the less frequent smokers failed the field test. Launch media viewer                         Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin in the film “Up in Smoke.” In one study, only 30 percent of drivers who had smoked marijuana failed a sobriety test. Everett Collection As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana, distinctions like these will grow...

Drunk driver to police: “I’m an owl”

The suspect was hiding in a tree WCVB NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — An alleged drunken driver arrested while hiding 30 feet up a tree Friday on Interstate 290 “rambled on about being an owl” when confronted, police wrote in court documents. Troy A. Prockett, 37, of Hudson, was arraigned Monday on a slew of — including third-offense drunken driving — after town firefighters had to use a bucket truck to bring a cop 30 feet into a tree to arrest him, the MetroWest Daily News reported. Documents in Westborough District Court provide additional details about the unusual arrest, including the fact that police at one point feared the man’s daughter might have been ejected from his vehicle. Full Story: Police: ‘I’m an owl,’ says drunken driver hiding in...