When Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies threatened a photographer for taking their picture, they repeatedly lied to him and illegally searched him. What they didn’t know is that a video camera was running for much of the encounter. You can see the video here, although he says a lot of what was said came after deputies found the camera recording and shut it off. He’s suing for damages.
- If you’re already familiar with the bizarrely maddening practice of “civil forfeiture,” this story will merely confirm what you already know. But if you’ve never heard of it, you’ll be outraged even more by this story of Tennessee police confiscating $22,000 from a man pulled over for speeding. The man hadn’t committed any criminal act — and told the officer that he was on his way to buy a car with the cash — but police say simply having that much money means it’s probably “drug money.” A television station investigated the incident and the dialogue between the reporter and the officer is enlightening. The whole practice of civil forfeiture is obscene.
- Louisiana is the world’s prison capital, according to a New Orleans newspaper. In addition to imprisoning more people per capita than any other state, it also exceeds the rate of anywhere else in the world — mostly in prisons that are privately operated. The state’s rate or imprisonment is nearly triple Iran’s, seven times China’s and 10 times Germany’s.
- We’ve talked before about the upcoming edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), but this story concentrates on one particular result we’re likely to see. The new criteria for psychiatrists and psychologists will lead to many more diagnosed cases of addictions. For the first time, gambling addiction is a recognized psychiatric disorder, too.
- The U.S. government works hard to make sure that other countries can’t get nuclear reactors or weapons-grade nuclear material, but the feds apparently didn’t mind Kodak quietly operating a reactor below a basement of a building in New York state.
- An Australian man who is thought to have saved the lives of about 500 people contemplating suicide has died at 85. The man lived near cliffs where people frequently threw themselves off to die — or at least went to think about it. He was well-known for using compassion and a friendly manner for helping people who showed up to end it all.