Thursday, January 20, 2011

Raid on Dreaming Ant Video

Today, I am going to be posting about a news story that I have an indirect connection to. The video store that I go to, Dreaming Ant Video, was raided yesterday evening, apparently in connection with a false press release that was sent out to mock the Fraternal Order of Police. They seized Dreaming Ant's business computer, as well as the wireless servers of Crazy Mocha, the coffee shop Dreaming Ant is based in.

My Gut Reaction: Don't the police have something more important to do than to pursue vendettas against people who parody or insult them?

Analysis: The phony press release in question had to do with the Jordan Miles case, which involved an honors student who was beaten by the police, leading to allegations of police brutality. The press release contained a false admission of guilt by the FOP, which has supported the officers in the case. The Fraternal Order of Police, in turn, would like to press charges against whoever made the release up, including identity theft.

This is screwed up on a number of fronts. First of all, it is hard to see why Dreaming Ant should have to shut down-they can't really function without a computer to keep track of rentals-just because some idiot used the wireless connection in the coffee shop they're based in to send out a phony press release. This action demonstrates a total lack of proportionality on the part of the Pittsburgh Police Force.

Second, it is difficult to see how sending out a phony press release with a fake letterhead on it constitutes identity theft. This seems more like a case of the Police Department abusing its powers in order to stifle criticism over the Miles case. What this incident calls for is not legal action, but a sound spanking for the idiot who sent it out in the first place. Such legal overreaches make it open to question whether the police department is fully trustworthy.

The best way the Police Department can atone for this is to hand the computer back immediately, and to reimburse Dreaming Ant and Crazy Mocha for any money lost due to loss of business. While they're at it, the police should send me, and every resident of Pittsburgh, a check repaying the tax money expended on this raid.

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