Brickbats: July 2021

News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly…


The state of Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $475,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a man run over by a bulldozer as he was being chased by Pennsylvania State Police. The police had caught Gregory Longenecker growing a handful of marijuana plants on public land. He fled into some dense bushes, and police used a Pennsylvania Game Commission bulldozer to chase him. His body was found beneath the treads of the bulldozer.

Two former mortuary technicians of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner face federal charges of fraud. Prosecutors say they took credit and debit cards from dead people and made thousands of dollars of purchases. Willie Garcon is accused of using cards from multiple dead people to buy $6,500 worth of items, including plane tickets to Florida. Charles McFadgen allegedly used five dead people's credit cards to buy $13,500 worth of goods, mostly from CVS stores.

Male students at Brauer College, a public school in Australia that serves grades 7–12, were required to stand during a recent assembly and apologize to female classmates "for the behaviors of their gender that have hurt or offended girls and women," according to Jane Boyle, the school's principal. Some parents said they were angry that their sons were forced to apologize for things they did not do. "In retrospect, while well-intended, we recognize that this part of the assembly was inappropriate," said Boyle.

Salisbury, North Carolina, police officer James Hampton has resigned after a local TV station broadcast video of him lifting his K-9 partner by the leash, slamming the dog into the side of a patrol car, and hitting the dog.

In England, an employment tribunal has ruled that Nuffield Health discriminated against fitness instructor Ali Burton on the basis of her disability. Burton's disability is a phobia of bodily fluids, including sweat. Burton said she became anxious when a supervisor asked her to pick up some sweaty towels. She said that when she refused, he told her to put on some gloves and pick them up. When she still refused, she said he mocked her by picking them up, holding his arms out, and putting them in the bin.

Bodycam video footage showed several Seattle police officers waking Howard McCay from a nap in his home and ordering him at gunpoint to lift his shirt up to show he had no weapons on his person. Then the officers ordered him to kneel on the floor with his hands on his head, where they handcuffed him. McCay hadn't done anything wrong. Someone had seen the door to his house open and called 911 for a welfare check. McCay has since filed a lawsuit against the city.

Peel Public Health in Ontario, Canada, has advised parents whose children must quarantine because of at-school exposure to COVID-19 to keep them almost entirely confined to a separate room apart from the rest of the family for 14 days. Other health care experts warned these guidelines are impractical and could cause psycho-logical trauma to any child forced to abide by them.

The Florida Highway Patrol has recommended that prosecutors rescind a $166 ticket issued to a driver who crashed trying to avoid a sofa in the road. The driver was traveling on I-95 when the sofa fell off a truck in front of her vehicle. The driver swerved to avoid the sofa, and her vehicle hit the median and overturned. A trooper ticketed the driver for failure to drive within a single lane.