Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2009 August 1-31

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When Google Isn't Enough

Law enforcement officers across Massachusetts regularly, and improperly, use the state criminal records system to snoop on celebrities, according to a state audit. Officers have looked for information on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady 968 times, for instance.

What's Your Sign?

New Zealand officials say they made a small error in their response to one Indian man's immigration application. The man's application indicated he had atrophied testes, and immigration officials asked him to consult an astrologist to see if the condition would require treatment. Immigration officials say they meant to tell the man to see a urologist.

Beat It

The Swedish government has barred a family from giving their new daughter the middle name Michael, in honor of Michael Jackson. Officials say giving a girl a boy's name is inappropriate.

True Crime

After Hollywood, Florida, police officer Joel Francisco rear-ended Alexandra Torrensvilas's car at an intersection, he radioed for backup. Three other police officers arrived soon, and they quickly began discussing ways to pin the accident on Torrensvilas and charge her with DUI. In fact, they were so eager to set her up, one of them forgot to turn off the audio on his dashboard camera and recorded the conversation. "I don't lie and make things up ever because it's wrong, but if I need to bend it a little bit to protect a cop, I'll do it," said Officer Dewey Pressley as he helped make up a story about how Torrensvilas was driving with a big cat in her lap that leaped from the open window, startling Francisco and causing her to swerve into his lane. After listening to the recording, the district attorney dropped all charges, and now the officers are under investigation.

Road to Ruin

A broken road reflector ripped a hole in one of the tires on Paul Holden's car, so he filed a claim with the state of Ohio and paid the $25 filing fee. The state denied Holden's claim. So he figured he was out $25 and the cost of a new tire. Wrong. The state billed him an additional $22 for the investigation and $6 for the postage for the letters it sent him. And just in case he didn't get the point, they sent him a letter saying they would garnish his wages and bank account, seize his personal property, and foreclose on any real estate he might own in order to recoup the money if he didn't pay.