Ever see the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? There’s a scene where Murray’s character, Phil, times the behavior of armored guards to walk up and steal a bag of money when they aren’t looking. Some guy in New York actually pulled that off!
Here’s the scene from Goundhog Day, if you haven’t seen it before. It makes more sense to know that Bill Murray is reliving the same day over and over again, so he knows what’s going to happen…
So, a guy in New York just pulled off that move. He walked up to an unguarded armored truck, snatched a bucket of money, and walked off. The whole thing was caught on camera, and NYPD Crimestoppers are looking for tips if anyone recognized the guy. Here’s the footage of the sneaky thief:
Here’s the amazing thing… this guy didn’t just get a bucket of change. The bucket he swiped was full of gold! The five-gallon pail had 82 pounds of flaked gold, worth $1.6 million dollars. It was so heavy, it took him an hour to walk a few blocks where he got in a van to make his escape. Police pieced all this together by reviewing the surveillance footage in the video, above. They still have not identified him, and are looking for tips.
Screen Capture of the Groundhog-style Thief
I called this a robbery in the title, but it’s really more of a simple grand theft. Robbery typically indicates taking property from a person, but there’s nobody here. It’s like shoplifting, except from an armored car. It’s exactly like the Groundhog Day, theft, so I’m beside myself because it’s one of my favorite movies. But this guy didn’t plan it out… he probably just saw an opportunity, and got really lucky. Winner, winner, chicken dinner and bucket of gold. I think they have an idea who it is, because investigators think the suspect is laying low in Florida. Because of course he is. Just so EPIC.
Posted in Criminal Law, Florida, New York, Uncategorized
Tagged bill murray, crimestoppers, florida, groundhog day, new york, nypd, phil, robbery, theft
Recent Spider-Man Altercation
We’ve covered some of the Times Square character antics… too many times the people dressed up and taking photographs for tips have gotten into altercations with tourists, and even with each, when turf arguments arise. Another Spidey got arrested a few days ago and took it to another level, when he showed up for court in costume. The judge was not amused, as it was his second arrest, and said if he gets charged again, bond would be set so high that he would not be able to get out.
This case is interesting, in that Batman was taking pictures with Spidey, and when the argument after they got stiffed by the tourists started escalating, whipped out the phone on his utility belt and started recording. He claims that the tourist was the aggressor. The cops found both parties at fault, and charged both Spider-Man and the Tourist with assault. It will be interesting to see what happens at trial…and whether Spidey’s lawyer can convince him it is in his best interest to appear in the manner of his alter-ego.
via NY Post.
Cropped and Rotated Screenshot from NY Post Video
The New York Post has posted video footage (cell-phone) of Spider-Man’s arrest and violent resisting on YouTube. You can see what preceded the video, prior to the arrest, but you can clearly see Spidey taking swings at the cops. You just can’t do that. He’s been charged with Assault on an Officer, and I’m not familiar with the intricacies of New York law, but the equivalent “Battery on LEO” charge in would be a felony that he could expect to see incarceration for, as is the additional charge of Resisting with Violence.
See Elmo’s Reaction, upper left, from NY Post video
The most amazing part of the video is the look on the face of Elmo in the back ground. Elmo is flabbergasted by this violent turn of events, a surprise in itself, given Elmo’s run-ins with the law.
Learn Spidey’s lesson, do not swing at cops. Florida law, and probably most states, do not permit violently resisting law enforcement officers.
NY Post video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYjl4apz3EA
The Daily Bugle must have a great headline. Spider-Man was arrested for resisting arrest, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and assault on a law enforcement officer. Spider-Man hasn’t had enough super villains of late, because he was hanging around Time Square, posing for photographs with tourists when he scolded a woman for only giving him a dollar. A cop accosted Spidey, saying he can only ask for tips, not demand money. Spidey wasn’t having it. Our webslinging friend went off yelling at the cop. The cop then told him he was being arrested, and Spidey punched the cop in the face.
Spider-Man sure gets around: we saw him a few months back posing for pictures in Key West. I have to say he was polite with us, and we only gave him a few bucks. No photos of the incident have come forward yet, for some reason photog Peter Parker has not answered his phone since the arrest.
It’s a shameful day for all superheroes. Worst of all, it justifies the anger directed at Spidey from J. Jonah Jameson for all these years!
NYPD and a couple of officers are taking a lot of heat over a video in which an unarmed man is choked to death by officers. The police report written directly after the death of Eric Garner makes no mention that a chokehold was used, perhaps because their use had been banned by the department decades ago. It’s poor policework that leaves significant details out of reports, and it’s all too common. Police reports are frequently persuasion pieces, written to justify an arrest or other action, instead of simply informative recitations.
This struck a chord with me, as I just noted the fact that in the recent Cape Coral situation in which the defendants family has alleged excessive force; officers neglected to mention they had broken the suspects leg. Travis Robey’s father alleges that not only was the leg broken, but that he was beaten after being subdued, and that officers then made him walk on the broken leg. Officers summarized, simply, that he was checked at the hospital and medically cleared before being taken to jail. Written that way, without knowing the details, it sounds like they may just have had him checked for alcohol poisoning before they put him in a cell. Yada yada yada the medical treatment he receive due to the force employed by officers. Before the validity of the force can be analyzed, the true extent of the force must be disclosed.
- NYPD has been systematically violating citizens’ rights for years
Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin has ruled that New York City police have been illegally detaining and searching people for several years running. Stop and frisk searches are permissible under certain circumstances, known as Terry stops, but the law requires that officers has a reasonable belief that a crime has been, or is about to be committed. The judge ruled that officers have been stopping people with no lawful reason, violating their constitutional right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. What makes the policy more appalling is that the City’s policy frequently targeted minorities, making the unlawful stops based on racial discrimination.
Judge Scheindlin noted that in 88 percent of the stops, the individuals were released without so much as a ticket. According to her, such a high percentage suggests that there was not a credible suspicion in the first place. If a baseball player only has a .12o batting average, he wouldn’t be playing baseball very long. Since these stops are supposed to be predicated by a founded suspicion, you would expect the percentage of discovered infractions to be very high. The double concern is not only that thousands of innocent people’s rights are being violated by the officers who are supposed to protect and serve them, but that by targeting minorities, and young men in particular, they further alienate these demographics from trusting the police. The NYPD policy has been proven to be practicing unlawful policies in court, and it is a shame.
The mayor has argued that the policy has led to a reduction of the crime rate. First, the causation has not been proven. Second, the results are legally irrelevant. Finally, is it worth catching a few more kids with weed to violate our citizens’ rights on a regular basis? Is it worth alienating a generation against the NYPD? Aren’t the underlying Constitutional Rights worth protecting? Yes they are, and this was a brave, correct decision by the court. Congrats to the attorneys who fought so hard to prove this case.
Right now the NYPD is on trial for civil rights violations for their stop and frisk policies. The question at trial is whether the police department unfairly targeted minorities for unlawful detentions and searches. Under the Constitution, we are protected against unreasonable searches and seizures from the government. Police are allowed to stop and pat people down (known as Terry stops) if they have probable cause to believe they are committing, are about to commit, or just committed a crime. Just because someone is a young man who happens to be a minority is not legal justification to detain otherwise innocent citizens.
The plaintiffs are claiming not only did the City frequently stop people without justification, but that they specifically targeted young, male minorities to stop and frisk without justification, strictly due to their age and race. The evidence is not merely anecdotal; among the witnesses that have testified include police officers who have indicated that there were quotas placed on them to issue citaions. The officers have brought in recordings from meetings with superior officers that appear to include specific directives to target young male minorities. Officers have testified under oath that kids were being stopped for no reason. Plaintiffs have testified to being targeted multiple times without justification.
It is an affront to our Constitution that police officers would be so caught up in making arrests that they would step on the rights they are sworn to protect. The mindset in some law enforcement officers is that there are bad guys out there, and they are justified in what they do if they are pursuing those bad guys. However, except in circumstances outlined under law, it is inappropriate to infringe on the rights of many (perhaps a high percentage of the 5 million that have been stopped in the last decade) . Any stop that is not based on reasonable suspicion of actual criminal activity is a violation of someone’s constitutional rights. If it is proved that the NYPD deliberately ignored people’s rights through their policy, they are wrong, and should have to pay. That is the only remedy to prevent such illegal practices in the future.
The irony is that such policies may create greater challenges for law enforcement officers. The more innocent people who get harassed, the greater the distrust and resentment of law enforcement grows among citizens. That leads to greater difficulty in future enforcement efforts. The NYPD is vigorously fighting the allegations, saying their actions are lawful, and the city is safer than it has been in decades.
Perhaps, in light of the evidence, they should be scrutinizng their own policies. The money spent fighting the lawsuit bight be better spent hiring a PR firm to advertise a new NYPD that fights to protect the Constitution, and uses that as a springboard to rebuilding their relationship with the people they are sworn to protect. Admittedly, that would require admitting they did something wrong, which is harder for politicians than spending public money to defend themselves in court. It is much easier for politicians to claim to be tough on crime than to be perceived as not backing their police department, and bad cops go on hurting the reputation of the whole department, and cops everywhere.
Thanks to Aaron for alerting me to this story.