Brickbats: May 2023

News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly from around the world.


Vera Liddell, former director of food services at Harvey School District 152 in Illinois, has been charged with financial crimes and theft for embezzling some $1.5 million in chicken wings from the school system. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office said Liddell placed orders for the food from July 2020 to February 2022 through the school's food vendor and picked it up in a school van. But the orders weren't authorized. The district doesn't even serve wings. Authorities said upon her arrest they weren't sure what she did with the wings.

The Indian government has declared the BBC documentary on deadly 2002 riots in the state of Gujarat to be propaganda and used emergency powers to ban India: The Modi Question from YouTube and other social media. Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University gathered for a screening of the documentary, but someone cut the power. Students at Delhi University say they were assaulted by police when they attempted to screen the documentary. Current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat back in 2002, and many Muslims accused him of condoning violence against them. The riots left more than 1,000 dead.

(Illustration: Peter Bagge)

Hialeah, Florida, police officers Rafael Quinones Otano and Lorenzo Rafael Orfila have been fired and charged with armed kidnapping and battery. Prosecutors said that after a shopkeeper called police to complain about a homeless man bothering people, the two drove the victim to a wooded area almost seven miles away, then knocked him out and left him there. They later sent a private eye to find the man and give him $1,350 in exchange for signing an affidavit saying he wasn't beaten and that he did not want the officers punished.

(Illustration: Peter Bagge)

A group of students and chaperones from a Catholic school in South Carolina were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in January because they were wearing hats that said "pro-life." The group had just attended a pro-life rally. When a South Carolina TV station asked about the incident, a museum spokesperson said the ejection was not keeping with its policies: "We provided immediate training to prevent a re-occurrence of this kind of incident, and have determined steps to ensure this does not happen again."

New York City prosecutors had some 550 convictions in cases investigated by police officer Joseph Franco thrown out, most involving low-level drug offenses. Franco was charged with perjury and misconduct after investigators in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office found video they said showed several drug buys Franco claimed to have witnessed did not happen—or, if they did, he was not in a position to see them. Now a judge has dismissed the charges against Franco after finding prosecutors failed to turn over evidence to Franco's lawyers as required on at least three occasions.

(Illustration: Peter Bagge)

Even as the National Health Service struggles with a shortage of doctors, the British government has ordered medical schools to admit no more than 7,500 students next year. The cap was put in place to limit the cost of educating medical students. It costs the government £160,000 (about $190,000) to educate each new physician. Medical schools face financial penalties if they admit too many students.