Brickbats: June 2024

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


In England, the Dacorum Borough Council issued fines for littering to multiple men who pulled off the road in a rural area to urinate, including one with a weakened prostate. A BBC report later found the council had issued hundreds of fines for public urination along the same road. The Telegraph reported that at least three other councils also treat public urination as littering.

A man says he was threatened with arrest after his dog urinated on a public street in Bournemouth, England. Steve Schuurman said a Dorset officer shouted at him to "clear your fucking dog piss." When Schuurman complained that he wasn't sure how the officer expected him to clean urine, another officer threatened to have him arrested if he did not move on.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles may have improperly charged tens of thousands of drivers late fees for their vehicle registration. A Los Angeles news station found that the DMV often rejected electronic checks even when the account had sufficient funds and there were no other issues, then charged late fees.

The New York City government refuses to reimburse Adam and Elizabeth Rizer for the loss of their car, which was totaled during a police chase. An officer pursuing a suspected stolen car through an intersection T-boned a Hertz rental car and then struck the Rizers' parked Jeep. The city says that the rental vehicle actually struck their car and the Rizers should contact Hertz for compensation. The city comptroller later told a reporter that "there were multiple parties and complex circumstances that prevented a pre-litigation settlement."

Melissa Evans worried when her dog Spotty got away that she might never see him again. Then Oklahoma City Animal Welfare called to let her know it had picked up her dog and she could get him back if she got him neutered, which she agreed to do. But when she went to pick him up, staff told her they had mistakenly euthanized him. The city animal welfare superintendent said another dog, which was scheduled to be euthanized, looked like Spotty, and staff "went into the kennel and mistakenly pulled the wrong dog out."

Italian aviation officials blocked a British Airways flight from leaving Milan for London after a surprise inspection found some of the seat cushions were too thick and too wide. Cushions on exit rows over the wings are supposed to be smaller to create more room in case of an evacuation. The flight was delayed for an hour until the crew was able to locate enough cushions to swap out.

The Scottish Ambulance Service fired Christopher Gallacher after finding he had an on-duty emergency dispatcher pick him and his family up at the airport after a vacation. According to a disciplinary tribunal, there were a "high number of calls" that evening and patients were waiting for "lengthy periods of time." The dispatcher was away from his post for 45 minutes.

United Airlines was forced to ground its brand-new Airbus A321neo planes, but not because of safety issues: A 1990 federal rule requires "No Smoking" signs to be operated by the flight crew, even though smoking on airplanes has been banned for decades. The A321neo uses software that keeps the "No Smoking" sign on continuously during flights. United previously received an exemption to the rule, but the exemption only applied to aircraft it listed at the time, requiring the airline to request another exemption for the new planes.