Crime

Shaq Attack

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If you'll remember, NBA behemoth Shaquille O'Neal was involved in a botched SWAT raid last month, in which members of the local sheriff's department teamed up with the federal Marshal Service's "Blue Ridge Thunder" anti-child porn task force to terrorize a rural Virginia couple and their kids.  Turns out, the team had the wrong address.  They'd been given an IP address by the local ISP, and rather foolishly traced the address to the innocent family's home, apparently under the assumption that all IP addresses are static.

Shaq discussed the incident in last week's Time magazine:

Because I was there, everybody wants to make a big story about it. It ain't no story. We did everything right, went to the judge, got a warrant. You know, they make it seem like we beat him up, and that never happened. We went in, talked to him, took some stuff, returned it–bada bam, bada bing.

You'd think the big lug would have a little sympathy for the family.  Good to know those police classes he's taking don't skip the lessons in classic LEO ass-covery. 

My favorite all-time quote from the Big Aristotle came in an interview he gave just before the 2000 NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Pacers.  Shaq was dominant that year, and coaches in the early rounds of the playoffs couldn't come up with a defensive scheme to stop him.  So many resorted to the "hack-a-Shaq" strategy, preferring to take their chances with O'Neal's awful free throw shooting than letting him score in the paint (one hopes Diesel will be a bit more accurate with his MP5). 

So Storm asked O'Neal, "How would you guard  Shaquille O'Neal?"

O'Neal's face twisted into confused knot as he contemplated the physics of the premise.  You could almost see his brain hurting.  His reply:  "Well now that's an unexplained question."

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  1. I talked to a guy here in LA that had had reason to work with him once, and he said Shaq really is as dumb as a rock. I regret to say I cannot confirm that independently – I would love to have seen him personally. He’s big enough to warp the local gravitational field.

    I wonder, does he really think he’s gonna need a job after he retires from the NBA, in order to makes ends meet or something? Is that why he’s playing cops and robbers?

  2. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s better than “My game is like the Pythagorean Theorem: no one has the answer.”

  3. Shaq was a participant in the Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny (animation).

  4. Boy, first Sanchez picks on a little girl, now Balko’s going after the retarded . . .

  5. Bee – If he’s really that dumb, yeah, quite possibly he will need another job. Lots of celebrities seem to end up poor despite having once made tons of money…quelle surprise.

  6. Lots of celebrities seem to end up poor despite having once made tons of money…quelle surprise.

    Yeah, think Mike Tyson. Or Dennis Rodman. Although perhaps Rodman wasn’t so much dumb as mentally ill. Wonder whatever happened to him, anyway? Him, I *did* see a couple of times around town, and he was quite impressively tall. He used to make the local news here once in a while, for having wild parties or being batshit crazy in public, but I haven’t heard anything about him in a few years.

  7. Webb just won Virginia.

  8. Regarding Rodman, he’s gonna be in the movies.

    http://www.deadspin.com/sports/whimsy/is-it-too-late-to-cast-tom-cruise-213334.php

    I’m sorry, I have no linking skills.

  9. …but I haven’t heard anything about [Denis Rodman] in a few years.

    The last time I saw Rodman he was evicted from Celebrity Big Brother UK with George Galloway.

  10. If Shaq is as ‘dumb as a rock’ then I hate to say what that says about all the other NBA players as he’s actually a lot more quoteable than many of them put together. On the other hand, if there’s anything to Gardiner’s theory of multiple intelligences then it’s not such a bad thing (just keep them out of police work if you can) that there’s certain things NBA players are really dumb at and certain things where they are the Einstein’s of the world; Magic Johnson for example, with his back turned towards the basket, could throw a pass 20 feet to the only open spot on the floor, where his man had just shed his defender. Now that was genius. I’m very good in my own job, but don’t ask me to throw any backwards passes or any passes for that matter to anyone even 2 feet in front of me with no men guarding them.

  11. I just went and read the homeowner’s letter to the paper (http://www.wpcva.com/articles/2006/10/19/chatham/opinion/opinion01.txt), and wow, is that messed up. The guy pulls up and the first action of the SWAT team is to point guns at him? Do they have any other reason for this than “because we can”? Do they think they need any?

  12. re: Dennis Rodman as coach of Little People basketball team – sigh. That Dirty Laundry link was pretty funny tho.

    sodee pop – I am grateful every day that there are so many kinds of sports intelligence! I am such a fangirl, in fact, that I really am distressed by former stars who wash up pitiful years after retiring. My alternate-life career probably should have been meteoric-career-sports-star business manager.

  13. oop, just saw your post, andy. Whoot!

  14. they did everything right, except go to an address where people were actually engaged in illegal activities

  15. If Shaq is as dumb as a rock, I’d hate to say what that says about rocks.

  16. He’s a great interview, but Shaq’s never had too much sympathy for the “little people” that I’ve ever noticed–which to him is almost everybody, either in terms of size or bank account.

  17. What the heck are they doing sending a SWAT team on a kiddie porn raid anyway? Are kiddie porn downloaders statistically likely to offer armed resistance or take hostages? I’m sure regular uniformed police officers would be just as good at preventing suspects from destroying evidence – only at considerably less cost and without the high level of trigger happiness commonly associated with SWAT teams.

  18. We went in, talked to him, took some stuff, returned it–bada bam, bada bing.

    The SWAT commander added, “Aaay, take it easy! We just bustin balls here.”

  19. Given David Stern’s recent tirade against NBA players carrying guns for self-defense, I wonder if we’ll hear anything about punishing NBA players who violate other people’s civil rights using the state’s guns.

  20. “He’s a great interview, but Shaq’s never had too much sympathy for the “little people” that I’ve ever noticed–which to him is almost everybody, either in terms of size or bank account.”

    Oh, I don’t know about that. Didn’t he do a lot of Katrina relief stuff, donated a lot of his own money as well as his time to that? And given his size, the guy could just pound other players into the ground with his bare fists if he ever wanted to. But it seems to me, he’s never really been in any kind of fight or taken advantage of his size in that way during his time in the NBA. None of that excuses this raid, but more of the blame should go on the law enforcement people and our whole anti-civilibertarian culture.

  21. Actually, Shaq might want to be a bit more careful with his “police activities.” He certainly constitutes a deep pocket for any lawyers who might be trolling around, and it’s at least questionable as to whether he has the same qualified immunity that the real police do.

  22. Judge Rules That Police Can Bar High I.Q. Scores

    Published: September 9, 1999

    A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test.

    In a ruling made public on Tuesday, Judge Peter C. Dorsey of the United States District Court in New Haven agreed that the plaintiff, Robert Jordan, was denied an opportunity to interview for a police job because of his high test scores. But he said that that did not mean Mr. Jordan was a victim of discrimination.

    Judge Dorsey ruled that Mr. Jordan was not denied equal protection because the city of New London applied the same standard to everyone: anyone who scored too high was rejected.

    Mr. Jordan, 48, who has a bachelor’s degree in literature and is an officer with the State Department of Corrections, said he was considering an appeal. ”I was eliminated on the basis of my intellectual makeup,” he said. ”It’s the same as discrimination on the basis of gender or religion or race.”

  23. “kobe’s always tryin to be a hero, but a hero aint nothin but a sandwitch”.

  24. Swat teams are being used on all sort of actions. The swat team in Fairfax County does warrants.

  25. “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.”

    Actually, Shaq might want to be a bit more careful with his “police activities.” He certainly constitutes a deep pocket for any lawyers who might be trolling around, and it’s at least questionable as to whether he has the same qualified immunity that the real police do.

    And if they get into a real situation, he’s by far the biggest target.

  26. With all the hubub over Barry Bonds, how come you never hear anything about NBA players using steroids?

  27. The NBA has long been more aggressive about steroid testing, though of course it has no control over what players do before they enter the league. And we *know* that the big college basketball factories really care about the welfare of their players.

  28. Rodman got busted here in Colorado last year for speeding along in his sportscar (Lambourgini or something) on the interstate near Vail, and was cited for stealing items (beef jerky and a baseball hat, if I recall correctly) at a convenience store because he thought everything was free for Dennis Rodman. I guess that constitutes a crime spree.

  29. Aside from the obvious civil rights and 4th amendment problems here, I’m looking at this from a civil law perspective: what in the heck is a guy with Shaq’s vast wealth doing, putting himself in position to get sued to kingdom come?

    If any one of those cops would have shot one of those family members, guess who the #1 target of the family’s lawyer is going to be? I guarantee you that Shaq has more money than what the entire Bedford Police Dept is insured for. He’s an utter fool for putting himself in that position.

    Talk about “hack a Shaq”. He doesn’t know how badly he can get “hacked” until one of these raids goes worse than this one did.

  30. On the IQ story: Let me get this straight. The guy is too smart to be a cop. So he has to stay at his job in the Department of Corrections. Prison guards are smarter than cops? On what planet?

  31. If any one of those cops would have shot one of those family members, guess who the #1 target of the family’s lawyer is going to be? I guarantee you that Shaq has more money than what the entire Bedford Police Dept is insured for. He’s an utter fool for putting himself in that position.

    That’s what my qualified immunity comment addressed. In addition to his deep pockets, the fact is that might present the easiest target of such a lawsuit, since he might not be able to claim sovereign immunity the way the police often do in such situations. “Qualified immunity” is the legal term for the type of sovereign immunity that government employees can claim when they are sued in their individual capacities. It is “qualified” rather than absolute immunity because courts employe a relatively ambiguous legal test to determine whether the employee qualifies for immunity. I won’t go into it here, but suffice it to say that the test provides lots of wiggle room for the lawyers to get involved. Typically, courts decide that govt. employees do have such immunity unless their actions are flagrantly unconstitutional, but the legal question here is whether Shaq would qualify as a “government employee” when he goes along for the ride. I’m sure he’s been deputized in these situations, but a savvy lawyer could argue that such a “deputization for show” doesn’t actually convert him into a public employee. Maybe Shaq would win, but does he really want to risk his millions on such a gamble???

  32. My momma worked with Shaq’s momma while we were in HS. Got a chance to meet him a couple of times. Even back then he was kind of an ass. This was before he went decided to go to LSU and really became cocky. I can’t say I was very impressed but I can see how he would make a good “Status Quo” beat cop. Just about as bright as that DEA fella who shot himself demonstrating a Glock.

  33. ChrisO – sorry, didn’t see your earlier post when I posted, but I agree with you.

    Would be interesting to see whether the police department’s insurance defense (assuming they’re insured) wouldn’t try to concede that Shaq’s not a cop, just to avoid having to bear the cost of defending him.

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