The police in Champaign really loath jaywalking…at least by some people, in some neighborhoods.

Wow — what an inspired use of FOI by the website Vivelo Hoy, a really interesting online news site…anyway, they took a look at five years’ worth of arrest records, and found that 90 percent of those arrested for jaywalking

English: No jaywalking restriction sign: An ar...

English: No jaywalking restriction sign: An arrow supplementary plate is mounted to indicate the direction of an appropriate crossing for pedestrians. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

were black — and most of those arrests occurred on streets without sidewalks. What?!?!

Here’s the nut graf:

We found major disparities in the number of arrests of black people in both communities.

In 2010, black people made up 16 percent of the population in both Champaign and Urbana, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

But in both communities at least 40 percent of the arrest charges were against black people in each of the years from 2007 to 2011.

Within the category of arrest types, there were even greater disparities.

One of the largest was in regards to “improper walking on roadway,” or jaywalking.

In Champaign from 2007 to 2011, 658, or 88 percent, of the 744 jaywalking arrests were of black people.

In Urbana, the percentage of black arrestees  for the same crime was even higher during those same years.


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This Hassle-the-Photographer Crapola Is Getting Old…

Not really FOI, but hey, this is getting downright ridiculous:

A Las Vegas police officer detained a man for refusing to walk away after taking a photo of a movie set that was completely visible to the public.

The man video recorded his interaction, which doesn’t show the officer’s face or name, but allows us to clearly hear him trying to justify giving the photographeran unlawful order.

The photographer whose username is 1willwanders on Youtube, held his ground, asking the officer to cite him the law that would allow him to single out a person for taking photos on a public street, ordering him to walk away while countless other people are allowed to remain because they are not taking photos.

The officer was unable to do so. The photographer was allowed to walk away after more than two minutes of debating with the cop.

Photo of a police officer, Boston, USA

Image via Wikipedia

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Oh, Good. Secret Police! Just What We Need. Banana Republic, Anyone?

A police officer in Chicago posing on a Segway...

Image via Wikipedia

From Texas, quite possibly the worst FOI exemption of the year!

The Texas Senate approved legislation Tuesday banning the release of police officers’ photos in most cases, a bill open government advocates opposed.

House Bill 2006, by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, next heads to Gov. Rick Perry.

It specifies that an officer’s photo can be released by a police department if the officer has been charged with a crime, if the photo is evidence in a court case and in a few other instances.

The Houston Police Department pushed hard for the bill, saying releasing officers’ photos to the public would endanger undercover officers or those targeted by gangs. Under current law they can keep police officers’ photos out of public view, but an officer must sign an affidavit. Police officials said that can be an administrative nightmare.

And if a police officer is involved in a newsworthy incident, but has not yet been charged? Secret. The police officers who, hypothetically, enter the wrong home on a search arrant and tear the place up, then leave? Secret. The officer whose intervention in a dramatic search-and-rescue effort saved the day? I am guessing…not so secret.

This is utterly ridiculous. Sure, there are rare cases in which an officer’s name, in an undercover situation, needs protection. But in 99% of police interventions, there is not a thing in the world that is the least bit private about who the taxpayer-funded, public figure toting the gun and the badge is.

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