Here's a video of an off-duty St. Louis police officer beating and pepper-spraying a man at a gas station. ("It looks bad," says the mayor.) Elsewhere, a study is questioning whether drug-sniffing dogs even work. Is probable cause dead?
The Chicago Tribune analyzed three years of data on the work of drug-sniffing dogs in area police departments. The dogs didn't fare well:
The dogs are trained to dig or sit when they smell drugs, which triggers automobile searches. But a Tribune analysis of three years of data for suburban departments found that only 44 percent of those alerts by the dogs led to the discovery of drugs or paraphernalia.
For Hispanic drivers, the success rate was just 27 percent.
"A lot of dogs don't train. A lot of dogs aren't good," explains one dog trainer. Though they're pretty good at racial profiling! The implications for violent cops are bad. The guy beaten in the video above was reportedly "unruly" and "drunken," but the officer's still getting into trouble, thanks to the fact that every jerk now carries a video camera phone at all times. And on top of that, even a gesture from a drug dog may no longer be enough to pull a shady-looking Hispanic man out of his car?
It's like, what are those batons even for any more?