November 13, 2002

A WHILE BACK, I WROTE ABOUT this law enforcement disaster in Houston, in which police went after drag racers and then, not finding them, proceeded to arrest everyone in a K-mart parking lot, for a total of 278 bogus arrests. (I seem to recall that the Houston police chief wound up losing his job over this, but I'm not sure.)

At any rate, it looks like something similar is going on in Wisconsin, where police raided a fundraiser and charged 445 people even though only three were found to have drugs. (Three people with drugs on them out of nearly 450? I doubt you'd get that low a percentage if you frisked the House of Representatives.) I spoke with one of the organizers, an artist who spends his spare time doing historical renovations named Gary Thomson. He said that in his mind they were definitely "profiled and targeted because we were playing electronic music."

I've written about this sort of idiocy before, but I'm sorry to say that too many members of law enforcement don't seem to have gotten the message. But here it is: You're idiots. How can I trust you to chase terrorists -- or even burglars -- when you show such an appalling degree of arrogance and bad judgment?

I'm sure there will be a lawsuit. The question is, will the public officials behind this disaster lose their jobs? They should.

UPDATE: Here's more on the Houston case, where the police chief wound up under indictment for aggravated perjury. And here's the website for the haunted house party. And here's what one letter to the editor said: "If the Racine City Council was running Green Bay, 63,284 people would have been ticketed at the Monday night Packer game because of 70-some people getting drunk, rowdy and urinating in the men's room sinks."

Do they play electronic music at those games?

UPDATE: Sean Hackbarth has more on this.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more on the Houston case, where lawsuits are proliferating like, well, lawsuits after a dumb mass-arrest. And The Comedian has this update.