Every time another story about police abuse or corruption breaks, we hear the same story: these were renegade cops; this was an isolated incident; this type of behavior is rare. What’s clear is that in many departments across this country, a culture of corruption and patterns of abuse are commonplace and, if anything, increasing. Many people grip about these facts, but few folks try to root out the problem or systematically expose the wrongdoing that occurs in the name of law enforcement every day.
Radley Balko was one of the first to carefully document the abuses occurring in wrong-door swat raids and trace the rise of constitutionally questionable practices to the militarization of local law enforcement, who are supposed to be civilian peace officers rather than soldiers waging war against citizens.
Now comes another innovative effort to keep tabs on those who are supposed to be protecting us. Ex-cop Barry Cooper, who has found a new career selling his Never Get Busted DVDs, is the host of a new, web-based reality series: KopBusters. The premise is to set up honeytraps mimicking situations where a local department is believed to be using unconstitutional or otherwise illegal procedures to gain evidence, get warrants and otherwise harass people. The first episode was filmed in Odessa, Texas, where Yolanda Madden is serving several years in prison for possession of
marijuana methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Yolanada and her family maintain that the drugs were planted on her during a traffic stop. KopBusters set up a “grow operation” in a honeytrap house to make it appear that the inhabitants were growing pot. In fact, the only plants found by police, who did raid the house, were a couple of Christmas trees. It’s illegal for police officers to use infrared or other scanning technology without a warrant and KopBusters believes that’s just what the local Odessa force did in this situation.
Here’s the raw footage from the honeytrap raid:
Here’s a longer post I did on KopBusters over at Fr33 Agents.
Update: According to this article, Yolanda Madden was convicted for methamphetamine possession. Corrected above.