The Truth About Cars » Police http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:05:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Police http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Making the Call http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/making-the-call/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/04/making-the-call/#comments Fri, 25 Apr 2014 12:48:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=809538 As we hover around the fifty mile an hour mark in the right lane, the car ahead begins to wander again. First to the right, correcting sharply as they touch the rumble strip. Then to the left, as they overcorrect and wobble back across the center line. Suddenly, there’s a white flash to outside my […]

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Californiacallbox

As we hover around the fifty mile an hour mark in the right lane, the car ahead begins to wander again. First to the right, correcting sharply as they touch the rumble strip. Then to the left, as they overcorrect and wobble back across the center line. Suddenly, there’s a white flash to outside my driver’s door window. It’s some kind of late model Benz, burning up the passing lane Autobahn style. Not good.

The day started with plenty of optimism. Three weeks after the engorged disc in my lower back was finally cut down to size, I feel well enough to attempt the longest car ride I’ve taken in five months. It won’t be easy, but I have a friend along to help with the driving. We’ll be attending a conference about an hour and a half away from our homes, in a major Southeastern city. There will be a lot of sitting involved; my least favorite activity since my spine began to malfunction more than a year ago. However, the recent experiences of our dear EIC pro tempore give me strength. Surely I can handle a short drive if the man who pretty much broke everything a short time ago is already back to his jet-setting ways.

With my friend to distract me, the first drive is less onerous than I expected. The conference goes well, and I don’t regret the trip. All too soon it’s time to pack up and leave. After dosing up on ibuprofen, I slide into the driver’s seat for the return journey. We hit the freeway as darkness falls.

A little more than an hour in, we’re cruising at a little under seventy in the right lane. I’m pretty sore by now, but we’ll be home in a half hour or so.  The freeway is fairly empty. I try to avoid sliding into the hypnotic state that so often accompanies long stretches of straight road. At least I have my friend to keep me alert. As well as the pair of flashing taillights that I’m fast converging on, dead ahead of me.

Damn. I don’t have to slam the brakes, but the deceleration is rapid. I want to pass him, but he’s literally taking up the whole road. He splits the two lanes, blocking me on both sides. I fall back. We’re doing a little bit above fifty, and he has his four ways on. What the hell is going on? Is he looking for someone on the side of the highway? Or perhaps for a mile marker, or an exit sign? Cars start to stack up behind us. He drifts back to the right, opening up the left lane. The cars behind us hustle past, and he speeds up a little. I could pass, but I don’t. Something doesn’t feel right.

I drop back and watch. It’s not long before he begins to weave again: left and right, back and forth. Both of us observe him, or possibly her- it’s too dark to see inside. We watch them in silence for a few minutes, wondering if maybe they’ll pull over. But nothing happens- the four ways keep going, the weaving stays about the same, and cars continue to blow by us on the left.

What should we do? I don’t know the number for the Highway Patrol. I’ve never dialed 911 before in my life, as strange as that sounds. Is this the kind of thing that 911 should even be used for? Does a guy who can’t drive straight really count as an “emergency?” It’s dark, we’re both tired, and the sawed-off disc in my lower back is increasingly making its unhappiness known. We’re rapidly converging on our destination, and I have no desire to get involved in what could rapidly become a long or even dangerous confrontation.

It’s at that point that the Mercedes appears. It’s a miss, but too close for comfort. It sends our subject wheeling back to the right, against the rumble strip, and then back left again on the same crazy cycle. Drunk. I don’t recall which of us said it first, but there is no disagreement. Even if we’re wrong, we’ve passed a tipping point that shouldn’t be ignored. We decide to make the call.

I hand my friend my phone. He gets the local 911 operator, who immediately begins pumping us for information. Where are you headed? What’s his license plate number? The make/model of car? And so on and so forth.  Then the operator wants to know my phone number. My friend hands it back so I can tell her. At this point, we’re running out of her jurisdiction, so she abruptly transfers me to the Highway Patrol. A few buzzes, and I get their operator. He begins asking me the same set of questions- apparently nothing was communicated by the local operator.

After a few more minutes I finish up with the Highway Patrol operator. He tells me that there are no units in our area, but he’ll try to dispatch one to check out the situation. He advises me to turn around as soon as possible and go home. There’s only one problem: we have now missed all of our exits, and neither of us knows how much farther we must go before we can turn around. To make matters worse (or possibly better), I seem to have spooked our subject when I pulled in close to read his license plate. His four ways are still flashing, but the wandering has mostly stopped. His speed increases to tolerable level as he stays in the right lane. We drop back and follow at a distance as the minutes tick by. No sign of the cops.

Finally, an exit appears. It’s a rural area, but I see that I can turn around and go back in the opposite direction. I start to head for ramp, but then I see that our subject is doing the same thing. “No!” my passenger shouts. I dive back to the freeway at the last moment. My friend is right; I don’t want to be stopped on that ramp behind a driver who has undoubtedly realized we’ve been following him. I don’t need any bullet holes in my car, myself, or my friend. I watch our subject switch off his four ways as he heads up the ramp. For a moment, I panic and wonder if he might come down the opposite side and follow us. But we never see him again.

We drive a little farther before we come upon another exit, turn around, and head back home. We’ve tacked on an extra half-hour or so to our journey with little to show for it. I feel frustrated, but also relieved. Maybe the cops pinched him, or maybe he got away. It’s out of our hands now. Even so, I can’t help but feel that there was something else going on besides a garden-variety DUI; the endlessly flashing four ways are a bizarre coda on the entire story.  What about you, B&B? Have you ever made the call?

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EU Secretly Planning To Add Police-Controlled Kill Switch To All Cars By 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/eu-secretly-planning-to-add-police-controlled-kill-switch-to-all-cars-by-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/eu-secretly-planning-to-add-police-controlled-kill-switch-to-all-cars-by-2020/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:30:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=731658 The British Newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that, if senior European law enforcement officials have their way, all cars entering the European market may soon be fitted with a remote shutdown device that would allow police officers to electronically deactivate any vehicle at the touch of a button. According to the article, which appeared in […]

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2007: "The Managing Director of Ferrari in Great Britain, Massimo Fedeli, boasted “our 60th anniversary tour is the perfect opportunity to provide this special 612 Scaglietti HGTS for the police service of England, Ireland and Wales to drive. This reinforces Ferrari’s commitment to responsible driving and promoting road safety.” (courtesy motorauthority.com)

The British Newspaper The Telegraph is reporting that, if senior European law enforcement officials have their way, all cars entering the European market may soon be fitted with a remote shutdown device that would allow police officers to electronically deactivate any vehicle at the touch of a button.

According to the article, which appeared in the paper’s January 29 edition, the program came to light after confidential documents from the European Network of Law Enforcement Technologies listing the development of a remote shutdown device as a “key objective” were obtained by an organization that monitors police powers, state surveillance and civil liberties in the EU. The report goes on to say that the secret papers justify the program by citing the need to protect the public from dangerous high speed chases and that the technology would put an end to the practice of spiking a car’s tires in order to end a chase. The documents, The Telegraph says, spell out a six year development plan.

Similar car stopping technology is already available on some vehicles in the United States via systems like On Star but, unlike what is being proposed in Europe, as of this writing remote shut-down on this side of the Atlantic is offered only to a car’s owner and can only be activated at their request. Still, once the technology is fully developed and mandated in Europe, chances are good that it will find its way to the United States and, given the way that most cars currently bundle their technology, it will probable be impossible to remove.

The application of this technology could change the way law enforcement works. More than simply putting an end to high speed chases, the system could conceivably be used in situations similar to the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and allow the police to shut down every car in the immediate vicinity of a fleeing suspect to prevent them from seizing control of other vehicles. Paired with systems like GPS, it could also be used to stop cars from entering disaster zones or other restricted areas and, taken to its extreme, the technology could even incorporate additional features like remote door locks that could be activated in order to contain suspects inside of a disabled vehicle until law enforcement arrives to make the arrest.

This then, is more than our cars being used to track our movements or using our on-board technology to report us when we exceed the speed limit, this is our cars being actively taken out of our control and possibly even used to imprison us against our wills should some law enforcement officer watching our actions via a camera from the safety of a computer console in a secure room believe that we are a threat to public safety. Like so many other innovations, I see the real public benefit of this system if it is used correctly, but I also fear the potential for mayhem if it is misapplied. It will be interesting to watch the debate now that the development of this system has gone public.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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Court Rules HOA Cops Can Use Illegal Means To Detain You For DUI http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/court-rules-hoa-cops-can-use-illegal-means-to-detain-you-for-dui/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/court-rules-hoa-cops-can-use-illegal-means-to-detain-you-for-dui/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:30:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=704394   Now that most of you have given your tacit approval for TTAC to continue to post stories about police and motorist interaction, please consider this strange case. It all began at 2:10 AM on April 20, 2012 when an officer observed Frederick Weaver weaving and driving an estimated 25 mph in a 15 mph […]

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HOA Police Courtesy bliptv.com.jpg

Now that most of you have given your tacit approval for TTAC to continue to post stories about police and motorist interaction, please consider this strange case. It all began at 2:10 AM on April 20, 2012 when an officer observed Frederick Weaver weaving and driving an estimated 25 mph in a 15 mph zone in his Acura as he cruised through the Carleton Place town home community in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Weaver was pulled over not by a traditional LEO, but rather by security guard Brett Hunter of the private firm Metro Special Police and Security Services, the Homeowner’s Association police for the community. Officer Hunter’s training for his position consisted of four hours of classroom time and a full day on the gun range. He proceeded to go all Paul Blart on Weaver’s ass, issued him an HOA citation for speeding and radioed nearby agencies for backup as he smelled alcohol on Weaver’s breath but did not possess the power of arrest.

Ten minutes later, an officer arrived from the University of North Carolina Wilmington police force arrived. She realized she had no jurisdiction on the property and called for the Wilmington Police Department to intercede. When they showed up another twenty five minutes later, they found Weaver sitting quietly on a curb. They administer a field sobriety test and arrested him for DUI.

Weaver was subsequently found guilty of driving while impaired and carrying a concealed weapon. He appealed and claimed that the arrest was illegal because the HOA officer had no training in speed and DUI enforcement and was denied his Fourth Amendment “reasonable suspicion” rights. The court agreed, saying Officer Hunter was acting as an agent of the state of North Carolina and thus he was bound by the Fourth Amendment, which he clearly violated.

Last month an appeals panel overturned the court’s ruling. They said that Officer Hunter was not acting as an agent of the state and thus the normal rules of law enforcement did not apply and the bust was legal. “A traffic stop conducted entirely by a nonstate actor is not subject to reasonable suspicion because the Fourth Amendment does not apply,” wrote the appellate court.

In other words, HOA security guards can perform traffic stops that would be illegal for traditional LEOs to conduct. Which means we all can!

Click here to view the embedded video.

This case will likely end up in a higher court and we will continue to monitor. In the meantime, B&B, should the Del Boca Vista HOA police have such power? And what would you have done if you were the motorist?

 

 

 

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Ask The Best&Brightest: Decrease The Police? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/ask-the-bestbrightest-decrease-the-police/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/ask-the-bestbrightest-decrease-the-police/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 15:07:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=690026 It’s been suggested more than a few times on TTAC, most recently in conjunction with an incident where police shot a mentally ill man to death, that stories regarding police interaction with motorists are, or should be, outside the purview of this blog. Point Two of the TTAC Reboot promises “Accountability and Civility”. In service […]

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It’s been suggested more than a few times on TTAC, most recently in conjunction with an incident where police shot a mentally ill man to death, that stories regarding police interaction with motorists are, or should be, outside the purview of this blog.

Point Two of the TTAC Reboot promises “Accountability and Civility”. In service of that goal, I want to take a moment to ask the B&B how all of you feel regarding cop-and-motorist stories. This won’t be a poll; I’d rather hear the reasons behind the choices. Should we have:

* No stories about police/motorist interactions at all?
* Only stories that are directly related to enforcement of traffic laws (i.e. speed cameras, distracted-driving law)
* Only stories where the police are presented in a positive, community-focused manner?
* Everything under the sun, including that kind of skanky-sexy girl in the Murano who rammed the cops?
* A different set of criteria entirely?

When Car and Driver basically declared war against the 55MPH speed limit lo these many years ago, they unwittingly set the universal template for automotive-enthusiast publications, both print and online. It’s long been assumed that the police are the natural enemy of people who want to drive quickly on public roads. Perhaps that’s no longer true, at least here at TTAC. Perhaps the B&B, as a majority, are comfortable with the speed limits and the manner in which police interact with motorists. If that’s the case, the content should reflect it.

Think about it and let us know.

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Garden City, NY Man Threatened By Police Over Washing Car In Own Driveway http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jersey-man-threated-by-police-over-washing-car-in-own-driveway/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/new-jersey-man-threated-by-police-over-washing-car-in-own-driveway/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 16:01:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=687082 A Garden City, NY man was visited by law enforcement and threatened with a ticket as he prepared to wash his 1997 Volkswagen in his own driveway. In the encounter, which was captured on video and posted to You Tube on November 27th, the officer can be seen walking up the driveway to what is […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

A Garden City, NY man was visited by law enforcement and threatened with a ticket as he prepared to wash his 1997 Volkswagen in his own driveway.

In the encounter, which was captured on video and posted to You Tube on November 27th, the officer can be seen walking up the driveway to what is obviously a private residence in what appears to be an upper middle class neighborhood and informing at least two men behind the camera that he is responding to a complaint from a neighbor. He states that he is there to warn the men that if they wash the car, they will be in violation of an ordinance which prohibits people from repairing or detailing autos in a public place. When questioned about the ordinance, the officer responds by showing them a Xerox copy of the rule and informing them that they are subject to the law because the area in which they are working is in public view. When the men insist that they are on private property, the officer informs them that if they wash the car in the driveway they will be ticketed.

The Truth About Cars enjoys a good legal discussion and I think there are several elements here that can be seen from different perspectives. In general, people who live in upper class communities don’t like it when their neighbors work on hoopties in their front yards and it makes sense that they would pass an ordinance to prohibit that sort of thing. This officer, who comes off as congenial and professional throughout the encounter, is charged with enforcing those rules and I think he does a good job of explaining the situation to two men who obviously disagree. Of course, thanks to the magic of the internet, you can watch the video and make your own call.

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Are Dodge Darts Illegal in Ohio? Man Arrested For Hidden Compartment That Revealed No Drugs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/are-dodge-darts-illegal-in-ohio-man-arrested-for-hidden-compartment-that-revealed-no-drugs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/are-dodge-darts-illegal-in-ohio-man-arrested-for-hidden-compartment-that-revealed-no-drugs/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 12:28:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=683634 WKYC-TV reports that when Norman Gurley was pulled over for allegedly speeding in Lorain County, Ohio on Tuesday, State Highway Patrol officers arrested him for having a hidden compartment on his car, charged with a felony despite the fact that he was not violating drug, weapon or any other contraband laws.  Gurley thus became the first […]

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2013-Dodge-Dart-Limited-seat-compartment

WKYC-TV reports that when Norman Gurley was pulled over for allegedly speeding in Lorain County, Ohio on Tuesday, State Highway Patrol officers arrested him for having a hidden compartment on his car, charged with a felony despite the fact that he was not violating drug, weapon or any other contraband laws.  Gurley thus became the first person charged under Ohio’s relatively new “hidden compartment” law intended, supposedly, to stop drug smuggling. The law states: “No person shall knowingly operate, possess, or use a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance.” That may create a problem if you drive a Dodge Dart in Ohio.

Specifically, Gurley was was charged with violation of Sec. 2923.241, which states:

To enact section 2923.241 of the Revised Code to prohibit designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, prohibit operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibit a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.

Troopers allege to have noticed an “overwhelming smell” of raw marijuana, a claim which gave them probable cause to search the car, which revealed not a trace of marijuana nor any other controlled substance. They did, however, find some electrical wiring and after tracing it they found it led to the release for a hidden compartment. “During the search, they noticed some components inside the vehicle that did not appear to be factory,” says Lt. Michael Combs with State Highway Patrol.  “We figured it out and followed the wiring and we were able to get it open,” says Combs. The compartment, though, was empty.

“Without the hidden compartment law, we would not have had any charges on the suspect,” said Combs, who contends that the compartment was large enough to carry several pounds of drugs and made allegations that Gurley was part of some kind of drug gang. “We apparently caught them between runs, so to speak, so this takes away one tool they have in their illegal trade. The law does help us and is on our side,” says Combs.

Gurley, who is from Michigan, was arraigned was released after posting bond. The car is being held as evidence.

Chrysler has started offering some of their cars, like the Dodge Dart, with a nice feature. The front passenger seat cushion flips forward to reveal a hidden storage compartment suitable for small valuables like cellphones, cameras, jewelry or a wallet. Just make sure, though, when you’re driving in Ohio, that neither you nor any of your passengers have ever thought of using it to stash some illegal drugs or maybe even some legal medical marijuana. It won’t necessarily take an “overpowering smell” of raw marijuana to find yourself charged with a felony and your car in an impound lot, maybe just enough for a well-trained K-9 to pick up its handler’s cues to “alert”.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

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Cops Nab Electric Leaf Owner Before He Can Ride Free On Your Nickel http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/cops-nab-electric-leaf-owner-before-he-can-ride-free-on-your-nickel/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/cops-nab-electric-leaf-owner-before-he-can-ride-free-on-your-nickel/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 15:56:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=671122 The owner of a Nissan Leaf was arrested in Georgia last week for stealing 5 cents worth of electricity after he plugged his car into the exterior outlet at a local middle school while his son was playing tennis.   According to Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, the car had only been plugged in for […]

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2012 Nissan Leaf, Exterior, front 3/4, Photography Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

The owner of a Nissan Leaf was arrested in Georgia last week for stealing 5 cents worth of electricity after he plugged his car into the exterior outlet at a local middle school while his son was playing tennis.

 

According to Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, 11 Alive, the car had only been plugged in for a few minutes when a police officer arrived and informed the man that he was committing theft and directed him to unplug the car. Later, after verifying the school had not given the man permission to use the outlet, the officer pursued an arrest warrant. The man was arrested by two deputies who appeared at his home 11 days later and spent more than 15 hours in the DeKalb County Jail before making bail.

Advocates of electric vehicles will decry this as police over reach and argue that amount of energy involved was negligible. The police, on the other hand, have taken a tough, no nonsense approach and, in their opinion, theft is theft no matter how little was stolen. I’m left asking is this what our society has come to? What kind of dumbass figures that he can charge his car for free wherever he stops? On the other hand, what kind of cop is petty enough to chase a guy down for a nickel? I wonder, would the cops have rolled in on this guy if he had “stolen” water from the drinking fountain at the side of the school to fill a leaky radiator? Clearly, the only ones who are going to win this battle will be the lawyers.

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New York Newspapers Report NYPD Police Officers Were Riding With Pack Involved In SUV Altercation, Failed To Intervene Or Even Report Attack http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/new-york-newspapers-report-nypd-police-officers-were-riding-with-pack-involved-in-suv-altercation-failed-to-intervene-or-even-report-attack/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/new-york-newspapers-report-nypd-police-officers-were-riding-with-pack-involved-in-suv-altercation-failed-to-intervene-or-even-report-attack/#comments Sat, 05 Oct 2013 21:05:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=609625 New York City newspapers are reporting that there were at least two and as many as five off-duty NYPD police officers among the motorcyclists riding with the pack that chased and beat Range Rover driver Alexian Lien after he rear-ended a sportbike rider who appears, in the videos of the incident, to have brake checked […]

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New York City newspapers are reporting that there were at least two and as many as five off-duty NYPD police officers among the motorcyclists riding with the pack that chased and beat Range Rover driver Alexian Lien after he rear-ended a sportbike rider who appears, in the videos of the incident, to have brake checked the SUV.


Lien drove away, hitting other motorcyclists, prompting the chase. The Daily News and the New York Post reported that an undercover officer participating in the ride observed the altercation but did not intervene and stop the beating for fear of losing his cover. He also did not call 911 to report the beating. ABC News reported that the detective works in narcotics enforcement. The newspapers’ sources say that the detective belongs to a motorcycle club called Front Line Soldiers whose membership includes other NYPD cops and that he was on the ride in a private capacity, not conducting an investigation at the time. While he did tell the NYPD that he was present, he only came forward after videos of the event started circulating, contacting superiors on Wednesday following the Sunday incident. News reports say that that the undercover detective has retained an attorney, though they don’t indicate if the lawyer was privately retained or hired by the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association, the labor union representing NYPD officers. He is reportedly the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

The New York Post reported about the detective’s affiliation with the Front Line Soldiers M/C and the Daily News said that according to its sources in addition to the undercover narcotics officer and another off-duty cop, there were possibly two or three more police officers among the estimated 20 to 30 motorcyclists on the Henry Hudson Parkway when riders tried to slow traffic, apparently so they could perform stunts.

Lien’s SUV bumped one rider who slowed suddenly in front of Lien’s car and when Lien accelerated to escape the pack of riders he hit several, seriously injuring Edwin “Jay” Mieses, who has since retained celebrity lawyer Gloria Aldred. Several of the bikers chased the Liens’ car for four miles, eventually catching up to him in Washington Heights when Lien got caught in Manhattan traffic. The motorcyclists smashed the Range Rover’s windows, pulled Lien from the car and beat him severely as his wife and child watched.

The undercover NYPD detective and the possible presence of other NYPD officers on the ride and their failure to report or stop the beating are being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs bureau. In addition to the failure to intervene or even report the incident, there is the additional matter of the officers participating in a mass ride that involved numerous traffic violations including stunting on public roads. After a similar ride a year ago snarled traffic, the NYPD had made efforts this year to prevent a mass gathering of motorcyclists in Times Square, said by some to be one reason why the pack of riders were on the Henry Hudson Pkwy at the time of the altercation.

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Are New York Biker Gangs Above The Law? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/are-new-york-biker-gangs-above-the-law/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/are-new-york-biker-gangs-above-the-law/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 14:02:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=593777 Last week, a group of motorcyclists “boxed in” a Range Rover on the freeway, apparently so they could “shut down” the road as part of a larger celebration. Alexian Lien, the Rover’s driver, struck a motorcyclist who brake-checked him; afterwards, he was chased into the city, dragged from his vehicle, and beaten savagely in front […]

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stonecold

Last week, a group of motorcyclists “boxed in” a Range Rover on the freeway, apparently so they could “shut down” the road as part of a larger celebration. Alexian Lien, the Rover’s driver, struck a motorcyclist who brake-checked him; afterwards, he was chased into the city, dragged from his vehicle, and beaten savagely in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter. The District Attorney for NYC has elected not to prosecute the biker who allegedly smashed Lien’s window and dragged him out of the car for the beating, causing outrage around the country.

Now, new information has come out suggesting that the city may be willing to effectively cede control of its streets to those same bikers.

The Post is reporting that NYPD officers have been told not to pursue biker gangs due to community-safety concerns. “The department also doesn’t have the manpower to police the rogue riders, who get together for pop-up outings and often use unregistered bikes.” This will not be reassuring to New Yorkers who have just watched one of their own take a beating from these bikers — particularly since Mr. Lien, with his Range Rover, his Columbia University education, and his job working for Credit Suisse, appears on the surface at least to be one of the “insulated” Manhattanites who have largely been sheltered from the city’s criminals since the beginning of the Giuliani administration.

While there are certainly sound reasons for a “no-pursuit” policy, and they have been discussed on TTAC in the past, offering a blanket policy exemption to motorcyclists engaged in intimidating or criminal behavior is likely to embolden people who, at least in a few cases, feel that it is completely justified to brutally assault a man in front of his two-year-old daughter. Slate, on the other hand, has taken this opportunity to shift some blame to the victim and argue that this was not a biker gang but rather a bunch of fun-loving stunt riders who should be handled lightly. Regardless of that rather nice distinction, the public is already demanding some effective action from the NYPD — and deciding to let bikers go as a matter of policy is unlikely to impress them.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture? Police Parking Illegally http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-police-parking-illegally/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-police-parking-illegally/#comments Sat, 31 Aug 2013 14:07:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=501242 This is a photograph taken recently at the Cadillac Place building, on West Grand Blvd just west of Woodward in Detroit. It used to be called the General Motors Building before GM decamped to the RenCen. To make sure that much office space (when it was built, the GM Bldg was the second largest in […]

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Can you spot the reason for that “No Standing” sign?

This is a photograph taken recently at the Cadillac Place building, on West Grand Blvd just west of Woodward in Detroit. It used to be called the General Motors Building before GM decamped to the RenCen. To make sure that much office space (when it was built, the GM Bldg was the second largest in the world) wouldn’t go vacant in Detroit’s economically viable midtown area, the State of Michigan moved many of its Detroit area office workers into the renamed building. Some of those state employees work for the Michigan State Police, which has offices for their Detroit detachment on the Milwaukee Ave. side of the building. It’s not a full scale police post, there’s no public lobby, but it’s where state police hang out in Detroit when they aren’t busy protecting and serving the public, not to mention rescuing injured peregrine falcons.

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Would you want this car parked in front of the building’s fire pipes if you or your loved one worked there?

Notice the no-standing area? Notice the building’s fire pipes immediately behind that no-standing area? Notice the Michigan State Police cruiser #2044 parked directly in front of those fire pipes, blocking access in the event of a fire? Notice the many other Michigan State Police cars parked in the area marked no-standing right where fire trucks would need to park for firefighters to have access to those fire pipes? Notice, too, the many angled, off-street parking spaces that are reserved solely for police cars, parking spaces that sit empty only a few feet from the no-standing zone?

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Why should police park in angled off-street parking reserved just for them when they can park in a No Standing zone closer to the door?

I didn’t go to the Cadillac Place building just to rattle some entitled cops’ chains, I was working on a story about Detroit Electric’s offices in the nearby Fisher Building. However, I had my camera case with me and when I saw the wholesale dangerous violation of parking laws under cover of authority, I stopped to shoot a few pics. Offhand there were about 10 police cars illegally parked on both sides of Milwaukee. On the south side of the street a Michigan State Police Ford Explorer was not just illegally parked in a no-standing zone, it was also parked close to two different fire hydrants, at least one of them closer than the minimum 15 foot distance required by state law. Back over on the other side of the street, by the former GM Bldg, while I was taking the photos two motorcycle cops showed up for what must have been some kind of meeting but they had to park legally in those angled spots. All the best parking spaces, the ones in the no-standing zone, were apparently already taken.

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The motorcycle cops arrived later and since there was no more room near the door, they had to park legally.

A Ford Crown Vic in MSP blue that arrived even after the motorcyles also parked in the angled parking but for some reason he left his car running. I’m sure that someone will say something about seconds counting and if I don’t like cops I should try calling a hippy the next time my kid is dying, but in an age when cars have stop-start systems that seamlessly and instantly fire up an engine after a stop light do you really believe that excuse? My guess is the warm, humid weather Detroit experienced today and the car’s air conditioning had something to do with leaving it running.

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The only legally parked police car on that block. He did, however, leave his car running. Hasn’t he heard about global warming?

He wasn’t the only duly sworn officer of the law who left his steel steed running as he left it unattended. I might not have noticed the others because of all the urban noise, but I happened to see a pedestrian who was crouching down to bend an ear to the sounds coming from one of the police cars. I’m not the only person who notices these things. At least three of the cars were left running. I know the boys and girls in blue always have an excuse, and I’m sure they want to get into a cool car after their meeting is over, but according to the weatherman on my car radio, though it was warm it was a not unbearable 81 degrees in Detroit at the time. At ~$3.60 a gallon for gasoline, can the taxpayers afford to keep cop cars air conditioned even when there aren’t even cops in them? Another reason cops give for leaving their cars idling at the side of the road is all of the electronic cop toys they have in their cruisers. Apparently all that stuff needs to be powered up even when the cop isn’t there to use them.

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Cops say they have to leave their cruisers running because of all the electronic equipment in their mobile offices, apparently whether or not they are using that equipment or even when they are nowhere near the car. On a warm, muggy day, how many times do you leave your personal car running and unattended just to keep the A/C going and the radio on when gasoline is $3.60 a gallon?

But I digress. This is about police breaking the law, not just the taxpayers’ piggybanks.

Which question has a lower number for an answer, how many times do you see police casually breaking traffic and parking laws, or how many times do you see police bothering to obey traffic and parking laws?

Now if you ask police here in Michigan, and I have asked, just when the law allows them to break traffic or parking laws, you will get answers ranging from “It depends” to “I can do it whenever I want to”. I’ve never had one tell me what the law actually was. Asking them if you’d get a ticket for parking like they are parked, and I have asked, will get you, “Well, I won’t get one.” All of those quotation marks are there for a reason, those are verbatim responses I’ve gotten from cops. Citing the the relevant state law, and I have done so, will get you a, “Have a nice day,” in that oh-so-respectful tone police use when they want to express disdain towards the people for whom they ultimately work.

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The door in the middle at street level is the entrance to offices that the Michigan State Police use. Troopers have told me that it’s more “convenient” to park by the door than in the spaces taxpayers have reserved for their exclusive use just steps away.

No matter what their response is, it’s never to cite an actual law that exempts them. Funny how they always seem to know what law to cite, when it’s you getting the citation. Michigan State Police isn’t the only area police agency whose officers illegally park. If you can believe it, the suburban Huntington Woods police park in the middle of a five lane road, in the left turn lane, yep, right there in the middle of the street, because drivers making an illegal right turn on red at a nearby intersection can’t see them there until they’ve committed to making the turn. The cops could sit in a nearby parking lot, but that would put them in the line of sight of the drivers and the object of all of this is generating revenue by issuing tickets. Can’t have people not making that illegal right turn on red, can we?

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There must have been some kind of shift meeting. Yet more state troopers illegally parked across the street. The building is CCS’ Taubman Center. What’s a few art students possibly burning to death when weighed against the convenience and comfort of police officers?

Not long ago, in Lathrup Village I noticed a small traffic jam up ahead on a residential street that crosses a mile long stretch of 25 mph road that’s partly residential (hence the low speed limit). I saw a police car up ahead so I assumed the officer had someone pulled over. Which might have explained why said officer was forcing traffic to go around him, traveling in the wrong lane, against traffic. However, he didn’t have anyone pulled over. He was doing radar surveillance of drivers on the busy cross street, while parked about 18″ from the side of the road (generally, more than 12″ will get you a parking ticket around here), about 15 feet from a stop sign and crosswalk (Michigan law prohibits parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, or within 20 feet of a crosswalk).

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A twofer. State law requires all vehicles to park at least 15 feet from fire hydrants. I’m surprised that he didn’t move a few feet up and make it three for three. The people whom that cop is endangering are car design students at CCS and the folks assembling Shinola watches and bicycles on a floor rented from CCS’ Taubman Center building.

Now remember, all of these traffic and parking laws are there, supposedly, to make things safer for drivers. In the section of the law that says you can’t park in the middle of the roadway, like those Huntington Woods cops do, it doesn’t give the reason why you and I can’t do it as “not a cop”. Safety, though,  and apparently the law too, takes a back seat to revenue.

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If you park here, you’ll get a ticket. If you park where the state police vehicles park instead of here, you’ll get a ticket.

The relevant law here in Michigan is Michigan Compiled Laws 257.603. Chapter 257 of Act 300 of 1949 is Michigan’s overall motor vehicle code. I’m not a lawyer but I asked my state senator’s office about it and they asked Michigan’s Legislative Research Division to look into it. The folks whose job it is to accurately inform the state’s lawmakers say that’s the only law that exempts police concerning traffic and parking laws. Section 603 of that chapter regulates under what conditions government owned vehicles can violate sections of the motor vehicle code. You can read the relevant sections of the law below. Paragraph 1 identifies which government vehicles can break traffic laws, pretty much any government owned vehicle from the local dogcatcher to the presidential limousine. Paragraph 3 lists what laws they can break, pretty much any traffic or parking regulations. Paragraph 2, though, which says when they can do it, is much more specific, and restricts such exemptions to when the vehicle is going to an emergency or is involved in the pursuit or apprehension of an actual criminal or criminal suspect.

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Privately owned vehicles used for State Police business also illegally park at the Cadillac Place building. It’s nice to see that the Michigan Gaming Control Board pays its employees well enough to drive BMWs. Ya think the driver would get upset if I left a copy of MCL 257.603 under his or her windshield wiper?

Did you happen to notice anything in there about routine traffic surveillance or having a meeting with your boss and co-workers? Speaking of such meetings, my favorite part of MCL 257.603 is the part about being exempt from traffic laws when going to “but not while returning from an emergency call” (emphasis added). That ‘but not from’ part tells us that the legislators in Lansing who wrote that passage had an inkling the law enforcement officers and other emergency workers just might cheat a little. Just because the chief calls you back to the shop for a talk doesn’t make it an emergency, so you can’t speed back, or park illegally when you get there. The fact that you’re a cop isn’t going to move your cruiser out of the way of a firetruck as your fellow state workers burn to death because of where you parked your car.

 

Click here to view the embedded video.

The story does have a bit of a bittersweet ending. Concerning those cops parking in the middle of the road, I sent emails to both city managers, both directors of public safety and even had a fruitless phone conversation with the mayor of my own city, which adjoins Huntington Woods, about why our police department won’t ticket cars that are dangerously and illegally parked in the middle of the road. Getting no satisfaction, I went to a city council meeting and simply read them the state law, asking them if it exempted routine traffic surveillance. Four days later the mayor called to tell me that a majority of the city council and city manager agree with my reading of the law. That was sweet, particularly since she thinks I’m crazy and knows that I’ll never vote for her, so I’m sure she didn’t want to make that call. I figure their decision had something to do with possible liability if someone plows into that cop car parked in the middle of the road and the fact that since some crazy guy read the law to them in public, on public access television and all that, and if the city gets sued they can’t say they didn’t know.

The bitter part was on my window when I got back from the Fisher Building. The same Detroit parking enforcement folks who have refused to ticket the cops and state attorneys endangering people in the Cadillac Place building, and yes, I’ve asked them to do so, demonstrate a bit more alacrity in enforcing parking laws when it comes to regular folks.

I have a call in to the Michigan State Police public affairs department asking them to comment about their troopers illegally parking in violation of MCL 257.603. I was contacted, asked if I was on deadline and was told that I would hear from them with a response. When I get that response, we’ll publish it.

MICHIGAN VEHICLE CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 300 of 1949
257.603 Applicability of chapter to government vehicles; exemption of authorized emergency vehicles; conditions; exemption of police vehicles not sounding audible signal; exemption of persons, vehicles, and equipment working on surface of highway.

Sec. 603.

(1) The provisions of this chapter applicable to the drivers of vehicles upon the highway apply to the drivers of all vehicles owned or operated by the United States, this state, or a county, city, township, village, district, or any other political subdivision of the state, subject to the specific exceptions set forth in this chapter with reference to authorized emergency vehicles.

(2) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle when responding to an emergency call, but not while returning from an emergency call, or when pursuing or apprehending a person who has violated or is violating the law or is charged with or suspected of violating the law may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, subject to the conditions of this section.

(3) The driver of an authorized emergency vehicle may do any of the following:

(a) Park or stand, irrespective of this act.

(b) Proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation.

(c) Exceed the prima facie speed limits so long as he or she does not endanger life or property.

(d) Disregard regulations governing direction of movement or turning in a specified direction.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Lock Up Your Daughters, Because The Cops Are Looking At Them (And Everything Else) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/lock-up-your-daughters-because-the-cops-are-looking-at-them-and-everything-else/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/lock-up-your-daughters-because-the-cops-are-looking-at-them-and-everything-else/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:55:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493530 The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway… At a rapid […]

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Image courtesy CIR

The paperback-size device, installed on the outside of police cars, can log thousands of license plates in an eight-hour patrol shift. Katz-Lacabe said it had photographed his two cars on 112 occasions, including one image from 2009 that shows him and his daughters stepping out of his Toyota Prius in their driveway… At a rapid pace, and mostly hidden from the public, police agencies throughout California have been collecting millions of records on drivers and feeding them to intelligence fusion centers operated by local, state and federal law enforcement.

Intelligence fusion centers?

If you care at all about having any privacy whatsoever from a government that has repeatedly demonstrated an unquenchable thirst for your personal information, I strongly recommend you take a moment to read CIR’s piece on motorist surveillance. It contains too many chilling and repugnant facts and quotes to reprint here. The bottom line is that police have stepped-up their automated surveillance of law-abiding citizens to the point where it is possible for them to reconstruct peoples’ lives by looking at their records. The funds to undertake this surveillance and store it in expensive server rooms appears to be limitless — even as cities like Oakland have a 13,000-case backlog facing the single officer tasked with investigating burglaries.

In California and across the country, the response given to victims of crime is increasingly “We don’t care”, “Call your insurance company”, or “Just go to the hospital”. They can threaten a teenager with a year in jail for wearing a particular shirt but they don’t have the time to respond to stolen vehicle or burglary calls. Increasingly, the police have found that it is easier, more expedient, and safer to simply lean on regular citizens for minor violations than it is to respond to, or prevent, violent crime.

There are legitimate benefits to wide-scale plate reading. If properly anonymised, the data could revolutionize the science of traffic management and urban planning. Imagine being able to plug 100 million “trips” into a computer and immediately see which roads are under and over utilized at every time of the day. There are real and useful things that can happen when the data is handled properly. But the way it’s currently being handled is anything but proper, and with the increasing number of public-private partnerships in California, it’s not beyond the scope of reason to suggest that eventually it will be possible to purchase travel records for a particular license plate.

In a perfect world, Something Would Be Done about this — but in a country where everybody’s already stopped worrying about the NSA’s documented surveillance of American citizens, who’s going to bother fighting back against license-plate readers? The answer is likely to be “nobody at all”. But if anyone does take it up as a cause, expect to see them marginalized as “teatards” or “Occupy freaks” posthaste. After all, if you’re obeying the law, you have nothing to fear from increased surveillance. Keep telling yourself that.

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Weekly Mileage Champion: 1999 Dodge Intrepid ES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/late-monday-mileage-champion-1999-dodge-intrepid-es/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/10/late-monday-mileage-champion-1999-dodge-intrepid-es/#comments Tue, 02 Oct 2012 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=462389 A broken clock is always right twice a day. But how about the last generation of Intrepids? These cars have a nasty, filthy, disgusting reputation for engine issues thanks to the 2.7 Liter V6. In fact, when most dealers at the auto auctions see the latest of the late Intrepids go through the sale, they […]

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A broken clock is always right twice a day. But how about the last generation of Intrepids?

These cars have a nasty, filthy, disgusting reputation for engine issues thanks to the 2.7 Liter V6. In fact, when most dealers at the auto auctions see the latest of the late Intrepids go through the sale, they always assume the worst.

Blown head gasket. $1500 repair. Probably worth more dead than alive.

Other than mid-to-late 90’s Cadillacs with the Northstar engines, I can’t think of a single vehicle made in the last 20 years that was so maligned for blown head gaskets.

As a personal example, I remember a 2002 model back in 2007 that had been owned by the Salvation Army since Day 1. A perfect exterior. Neat, well kept interior. It looked like a steal at $2200.

It was a steal. But eventually sometime down the road, I’m sure it dealt a fatal blow to the final owner. Very few of these engines ever saw the 200,000 mile light at the end of the tunnel without a blown head gasket or two in between.

This one is apparently different. Or is it? It has 263,942 miles and is surprisingly….operable.

These cars came with three engine choices.

The anything but rock solid 2.7 Liter.

A kinda decent but still not quite up to snuff 3.2 Liter.

Finally we have a 3.5 Liter that can offer over 240 horsepower engine. It was used to power what may be the worst police interceptor of the 21st century in North America. The Dodge Intrepid Police Interceptor. These things were so bad that I was able to buy a perfectly running five year old one with 90k miles for all of $700 (and a $100 fee) at a public sale. That 3.5 Liter was a classic case of an engine being better than the rest of the car.

The police departments avoided them for a multitude of legitimate reasons. Suspension issues, maintenance costs, night visibility, and most of all… brakes!

Click here to view the embedded video.

The Intrepid PI became another unloved one generation wonder.

Nobody loved Intrepids. Ever. Except perhaps this one. So here’s the question. Which engine?

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Chalk One Up To The Beijing Police http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/chalk-one-up-to-the-beijing-police/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/chalk-one-up-to-the-beijing-police/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 15:16:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=433325 This Beijing policeman has a hard look at this BMW X1. Not because it’s extremely dusty. A few days parked outside in Beijing, and any car looks like that. No, this car has no license plates. The plateless car has been gathering dust for a while on Beijing’s streets. So the policeman has the X1 […]

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This Beijing policeman has a hard look at this BMW X1. Not because it’s extremely dusty. A few days parked outside in Beijing, and any car looks like that. No, this car has no license plates. The plateless car has been gathering dust for a while on Beijing’s streets.

So the policeman has the X1 towed. In America, that would be that. But this is China. To maintain a harmonious society, the owner needs to be notified of the towing. Now, the policeman has a problem: There is no license plate on the car, so how should he know the owner?

A fast thinking member of Beijing’s Finest whips out a piece of chalk, kneels and writes (translation courtesy Carnewschina: )

“To the owner of the BMW X1 car. Please contact the local police station for information concerning your property.”

It looks like it hasn’t been raining for a while. The chalk may still be there when the owner comes back.

 

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High Speed Pursuits Endanger Your House http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/high-speed-pursuits-endanger-your-house/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/high-speed-pursuits-endanger-your-house/#comments Sun, 26 Feb 2012 12:28:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432736 The post High Speed Pursuits Endanger Your House appeared first on The Truth About Cars.

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Chinese Woman Liberates Car From Chinese Police. Film At 11 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chinese-woman-liberates-car-from-chinese-police-film-at-11/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/12/chinese-woman-liberates-car-from-chinese-police-film-at-11/#comments Fri, 23 Dec 2011 10:39:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=423367 A while ago, we showed you a video of an angry Shanghainese woman, towing a tow-truck away. Alas, the video was staged. This time, it’s serious. Or so they swear over at Carnewschina, and at the TV station in Liaoning Province that showed on the evening news what happened when the police wanted to tow […]

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A while ago, we showed you a video of an angry Shanghainese woman, towing a tow-truck away. Alas, the video was staged. This time, it’s serious. Or so they swear over at Carnewschina, and at the TV station in Liaoning Province that showed on the evening news what happened when the police wanted to tow a Buick Excelle. The Buick’s driver, a resolute woman, had different ideas.

The Buick was already hitched, but on the wrong end. Using the fact that the Excelle is a front-wheel-drive, the woman could liberate it from the claws of the tow truck, and drive away. What is interesting to watch is how the police in the alleged police state reacts.

If the woman would have bumped an American cop with the door, and then shoved him, she would be in cuffs. If she would have kept on driving with an American cop standing in front of the car, she would have found herself tased, bundled up, arrested, and in a world of hurt. In China, she simply drives away.

They have her number and will catch up with her later.

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DC Follies: Expired Tags? Go To Jail http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/dc-follies-expired-tags-go-to-jail/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/dc-follies-expired-tags-go-to-jail/#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2011 21:23:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413722 The woman in this video ended up in handcuffs and jail in the District of Columbia. Her crime? Her tags had expired. This was last year. And it was no isolated occurrence. To this day, people are routinely thrown into the nation’s capital’s slammer if they forgot to renew their license plate. Fox News chronicled […]

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The woman in this video ended up in handcuffs and jail in the District of Columbia. Her crime? Her tags had expired. This was last year. And it was no isolated occurrence. To this day, people are routinely thrown into the nation’s capital’s slammer if they forgot to renew their license plate.

Fox News chronicled a list of cases where people went to jail for missing the DMV deadline. In one case, police arrested a mother on her way to pick up her child from school, with her younger child in the car. The arresting officer informed her that the to jail.

The practice attracted the attention of the AAA. “This is ridiculous,” AAA spokesman John Townsend said.

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The Last Muscle-Car War: Detroit Battles For Cop-Car Supremacy http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/detroit-battles-for-cop-car-supremacy/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/detroit-battles-for-cop-car-supremacy/#comments Sat, 24 Sep 2011 18:23:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=412442 Last fall, the first tests of the new Chevy Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford Taurus Interceptor generated quite a bit of interest here at TTAC and beyond, as three all-new contestants battled to replace the outgoing Crown Victoria as America’s cop car. At the time, the Caprice seemed like the clear performance favorite, […]

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Last fall, the first tests of the new Chevy Caprice PPV, Dodge Charger Pursuit and Ford Taurus Interceptor generated quite a bit of interest here at TTAC and beyond, as three all-new contestants battled to replace the outgoing Crown Victoria as America’s cop car. At the time, the Caprice seemed like the clear performance favorite, but as Sajeev Mehta has pointed out, there’s more to the cop-car equation than pure speed. Although good luck trying to tell the Detroit Three that, as all three are cherry-picking performance stats in the wake of the latest round of Michigan State Police testing.

  • Chrysler arguably has the biggest performance win to brag about, noting that the “fastest-ever lap time at Grattan Raceway [1:33.70] highlights Dodge Charger Pursuit V-8 as the police sedan with the best combination of acceleration, braking, handling and dynamics.” The V8 Dodge also recorded the fastest 0-60 and 0-100 times of the trio, thanks to an optional acceleration-biased 3.06 rear axle ratio and a revised engine management system that allows top speeds of up to 151 MPH (all new for 2012, along with upgraded brakes). For the record, that 1:33:70 time is exactly three seconds faster than the Charger’s best lap time last year.
  • After “creaming” the competition last fall, it seems GM was caught a bit flat-footed by Mopars upgrades, and its press release makes no mention of its lap time (its best lap time last year was a 1:35:80). Instead The General brags about the Caprice’s leading top speed (154 MPH) and 60-0 braking (125.8 ft). And despite last year’s “LS-X FTW” talk, the Caprice V6 turns out to be the most impressive model, beating both the Charger V6 and the Taurus non-Turbo V6 in 60-0 mph braking, top speed and acceleration.
  • As predicted last year by Sajeev, Ford’s Taurus appears to be something of a performance back-marker. Ford’s presser doesn’t mention a single performance statistic, instead seeming to coast on the Panther-Interceptor’s coattails with bullet points like “Now police departments and other law enforcement agencies can get an all-new, American-made vehicle with the expected durability and price of the popular Crown Victoria.” Ford’s only performance argument is that the Taurus Ecoboost outperforms the Crown Vic… a stunningly low bar to set (even the Impala 3.6 hits a higher top speed than the EcoBoost Interceptor).

But, as we’ve pointed out, efficiency and reliability are for more important for police fleet buyers than outright performance. If Ford can make good on the promise that it will match the Crown Vic’s durability, and can prove that its Ecoboost engine will reliably offer better efficiency than the Dodge and Chevy V8s, it might make an argument for itself. But in a world where police departments are actually hoarding Crown Vics, there’s always going to be resistance to ditching the rear-drive V8 model for the perceived complexity of AWD and a turbocharged V6.

But because the performance differences between the Chevy and the Dodge are relatively small and because performance isn’t the overriding concern for police fleet buyers, Dodge’s lap record at MSP testing may be the most significant achievement in this year’s MSP testing, for reasons that have nothing to do with prospective police sales. With the Crown Vic gone and the competition for the definitive police vehicle thrown wide open, these annual Michigan State Police tests are beginning to take on the feel of a classic Detroit proxy war, not unlike the illegal drag racing that took place on Woodward Avenue at the height of the muscle car era. And because Dodge offers high-performance versions of its Charger to the general public, its ability to beat back the Australian-built, unobtainable-to-civilians Caprice could give it something of a halo to enthusiasts. Even Ford, which sells a Taurus SHO that’s not entirely unlike the new Interceptor, can leverage police performance testing results into a brand halo. Only GM, which stubbornly refuses to offer the Caprice as a civilian model, seems to be oblivious to the civilian-market implications of what is rapidly becoming an annual Detroit showdown.

With racing becoming increasingly detached from the vehicles available for sale to the general public, police performance testing is one of the last factory-backed competitions between cars that are available for sale to the general public. In short, it’s the kind of spectacle that drove the muscle car era… and have since disappeared. As the brand that’s most dependent on continued sales of V8-powered, large  rear-drive sedans, it’s no wonder Dodge upgraded its Charger in order to come away with a narrow win this year. Maybe next year Chevy should hit back… and then capitalize on the rivalry by making a Caprice available to civilians.

The Michigan State Police have not yet released full test results for 2012 model-year vehicles. TTAC will post these results as soon as they become available. Past test results can be found here

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Cop Rapes Civilian In Cruiser http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/cop-rapes-civilian-in-cruiser/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/09/cop-rapes-civilian-in-cruiser/#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 11:48:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=409901 In Albuquerque, a police officer is caught with his pants not quite down, but nonetheless having sex on the hood of a car. From the pictures released, it looked consensual.  This is not what can be said of the conduct of a Philadelphia police officer. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Keith Corley II, a 4 […]

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In Albuquerque, a police officer is caught with his pants not quite down, but nonetheless having sex on the hood of a car. From the pictures released, it looked consensual.  This is not what can be said of the conduct of a Philadelphia police officer. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Keith Corley II, a 4 year member of the Philadelphia police department, was charged with raping a woman in the back of his squad car while on duty in the 18th District in West Philadelphia.

The Inquirer is keeping a tally of this and says it’s the “third time in the last two weeks, that a Philadelphia police officer has been charged with a violent attack against a woman.” The first two times were domestic disputes. The third case is outright rape.

According to a spokeswoman for the District Attorney, a woman told police that she was waiting for a bus at 52nd and Market streets to go to the 69th Street Terminal when Corley pulled up in his squad car and picked her up. The woman was driven to an area of Cobbs Creek near Cedar Avenue and was raped in the back seat of the cruiser. After the act, she was dropped off at the bus terminal, police says.

DNA from the squad car seems to support the case. Officer Corley is charged with rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, indecent exposure and official oppression. He is currently suspended from duty.

 

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California: Court Blasts Beatdown Over Seat Belt Infraction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/california-court-blasts-beatdown-over-seat-belt-infraction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/california-court-blasts-beatdown-over-seat-belt-infraction/#comments Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:37:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=409250 A federal appellate court ruled Friday that the pepper spraying and beating of a black motorist who did not wear his seat belt constituted excessive force. Mark Anthony Young, 46, was driving to the gym in February 2007 when Los Angeles County, California Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Wells stopped him so he could issue a ticket […]

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A federal appellate court ruled Friday that the pepper spraying and beating of a black motorist who did not wear his seat belt constituted excessive force. Mark Anthony Young, 46, was driving to the gym in February 2007 when Los Angeles County, California Sheriff’s Deputy Richard Wells stopped him so he could issue a ticket for failing to buckle up. Wells’ problems began when he was unable to produce his vehicle registration.

While Wells was writing up the ticket, Young got out of his truck and walked over to hand the deputy the vehicle’s paperwork. Wells ordered Young back into his truck, but Young did not feel like doing so. He sat on the curb, eating broccoli. In his legal filing, Wells claimed the broccoli was dangerous and that he “believed that [Young] was about to throw the broccoli at [him] in order to cause a distraction before assaulting him.”

After Young refused to get back in his car, Wells blasted him with pepper spray from behind, without warning. When Young stood up, Wells beat him to the ground with multiple baton blows. A second deputy arrived and held Young down on the ground so he could be handcuffed, tightly, so Young complained.

“Well, you know what, that’s part of not going along with the program,” Wells responded.

A district court judge found that Wells was immune from any claim that excessive force had been used. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals disagreed, finding question of whether the use of significant force was justified should have been sent to a jury.

“Whatever such force is ultimately labeled, there is no question that its use against an individual is a sufficiently serious intrusion upon liberty that it must be justified by a commensurately serious state interest,” Judge Stephen Roy Reinhardt wrote for the three-judge panel. “Whether Wells’s claim that he feared a broccoli-based assault is credible and reasonable presents a genuine question of material fact that must be resolved not by a court ruling on a motion for summary judgment but by a jury in its capacity as the trier of fact.”

The court did not believe Wells had any true concern about his own safety and noted that the officer attributed various crude statements to Young in his incident report that an audio recording later proved were never said.

“Young’s failure to wear a seatbelt was a run-of-the-mill traffic violation that clearly provided little, if any, support for the use of force upon him,” Reinhardt wrote. “And while disobeying a peace officer’s order certainly provides more justification for force than does a minor traffic offense, such conduct still constitutes only a non-violent misdemeanor offense that will tend to justify force in far fewer circumstances than more serious offenses, such as violent felonies.”

The ruling reversed the lower court ruling and remanded it for further proceedings. A copy of the decision is available in a PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Young v. County of Los Angeles (US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 8/26/2011)

[Courtesy:Thenewspaper.com]

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South Carolina Supreme Court Busts Town for Ignoring Camera Law http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/south-carolina-supreme-court-busts-town-for-ignoring-camera-law/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/07/south-carolina-supreme-court-busts-town-for-ignoring-camera-law/#comments Wed, 13 Jul 2011 14:13:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=402391 In 1998, South Carolina lawmakers mandated that police use dashboard mounted cameras to document the arrest of anyone arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The state supreme court on Monday ruled that the town of Mount Pleasant was not in compliance with this statute, which states a suspect “must have his conduct […]

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In 1998, South Carolina lawmakers mandated that police use dashboard mounted cameras to document the arrest of anyone arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). The state supreme court on Monday ruled that the town of Mount Pleasant was not in compliance with this statute, which states a suspect “must have his conduct at the incident site and the breath test site video recorded.”


DUI arrests have been a major moneymaker for the town of 67,000. Between 1998 and 2008, Mount Pleasant made 2796 DUI arrests, ranking first among municipalities in the state. It should have had the top priority in receiving cameras from the state Department of Public Safety, but it only asked for and received seven. By comparison, the town of Moncks Corner had nearly twice as many cameras for just 198 arrests. Instead of buying cameras to meet legal requirements, town officials spent $65,145 for a “Town of Mount Pleasant” sign placed at a freeway exit. They also paid $100,000 to a marketing firm to come up with a town slogan and $6 million to buy a parcel of property known as the “O.K. Tire Store.”

Mount Pleasant officials believed they could get away with this because the dashcam law was written to take effect gradually as the video equipment was distributed throughout the state. In 2007, the high court referred to this provision as providing “a reasonable grace period.” In the present case, the justices saw the town as attempting to evade its legal responsibility with an overly clever reading of the letter of the law.

“We find the town’s protracted failure to equip its patrol vehicles with video cameras, despite its ‘priority’ ranking, defeats the intent of the legislature and violates the statutorily-created obligation to videotape DUI arrests,” Justice Donald W. Beatty wrote for the court. “Accordingly, we do not believe that the Town should be able to continually evade its duty by relying on subsection (G) of section 56-5-2953.”

The court found that although the city did not necessarily have to spend its own funds for the cameras, it was responsible for requesting them from the state Department of Public Safety.

“We find the town’s explanation is disingenuous,” Beatty wrote. “Admittedly, the legislature was silent with respect to a time requirement for when vehicles must be equipped with video cameras. However, applying the rules of statutory construction, we find the town’s interpretation would defeat the legislative intent of section 56-5-2953 and the overall DUI reform enacted in 1998.”

The ruling affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of DUI charges against Treva Roberts for a November 1, 2007 incident.

[Courtesy: Thenewspaper.com]

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Chinese Cop Cruiser Round-up http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/chinese-cop-cruiser-round-up/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/chinese-cop-cruiser-round-up/#comments Thu, 05 May 2011 05:36:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=393710   There is a Police Equipment Show in Beijing, and it’s a meeting of the minds: Chinese cops want to get out of their Santana wagons (read gen 2 Passat Variant), and Chinese carmakers want a slice of the lucrative government pie. Our friend Tycho of ChinaCarNews (formerly known as TheTycho.com) went to the show […]

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There is a Police Equipment Show in Beijing, and it’s a meeting of the minds: Chinese cops want to get out of their Santana wagons (read gen 2 Passat Variant), and Chinese carmakers want a slice of the lucrative government pie. Our friend Tycho of ChinaCarNews (formerly known as TheTycho.com) went to the show and took his camera along. Above a uniformed Shanghai-Volkswagen Passat Lingyu, the logical successor of the ubiquitous Shanghai-Volkswagen Santana. More Chinese police after the jump …

Brilliance brought two cars which they hope to sell as Chinese cop cruisers. This is a Brilliance FSV.

And this a Brilliance BS6. This is the car I would take. It’s got my name on it.

The Suzuki Alto, a kei car of Japanese lineage, is probably better suited for parking regulation enforcement than for the hot pursuit of speeding bimmers.

Ford fields a Mondeo. In lieu of Panther love …

Dongfeng-Nissan shows an X-Terra, complete with video equipment.

More pictures of China cop cruiser hopefuls at ChinaCarNews.

Brilliance FSV . Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Chang’an-Suzuki Alto . Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Ford Mondeo. Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Nissan X-Terra. Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Passat Lingyu. Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Brilliance BS6. Picture courtesy ChinaCarNews.com Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Chinese Police Arrests Golden Infiniti G37 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/chinese-police-arrests-golden-infiniti-g37/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/04/chinese-police-arrests-golden-infiniti-g37/#comments Sun, 03 Apr 2011 07:54:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=389655 Every few years, Beijing’s government lashes out against billboards that advertise an ostentatious lifestyle. These exhortations are largely ignored, which preserves an endless source of involuntary humor. Meanwhile in Nanjing, “scores of amazed onlookers flocked to a busy shopping street” to see a gold plated Infiniti G37 convertible that had pulled up curbside. “Unfortunately for […]

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Every few years, Beijing’s government lashes out against billboards that advertise an ostentatious lifestyle. These exhortations are largely ignored, which preserves an endless source of involuntary humor.

Meanwhile in Nanjing, “scores of amazed onlookers flocked to a busy shopping street” to see a gold plated Infiniti G37 convertible that had pulled up curbside. “Unfortunately for the owners, police soon flocked to the scene as well,” reports the Daily Mail.

First, Nanjing’s finest wanted to issue a ticket for ostentatious illegal parking to a well-dressed couple that emerged from the car. Then, the police noticed the lack of a necessary ingredient for a ticket: A license plate. The golden car was not registered. A tow truck made its way through scores of reporters that conveniently were on hand, and the golden car was under arrest. Another win in the strike hard campaign against brazen bawdy bling.

However, two days later, the golden Infiniti was not in the  impound lot, but on display  in a jewelery store in Nanjing. It also was featured prominently in state-owned Xinhua, with its own gallery, and the note that “it took five artizens (sic) over four months to plate gold on the Infiniti car.” Don’t worry, can’t bring luxury down in China.

What it needs is taste. That will come next year. Or after I have disposed of the faux Rococo fixtures that were left behind by the previous owner of my apartment.

The fine art of media stunts however is already mastered with aplomb.

Land of luxury, Picture courtesy flickr.com Tow, tow, tow the boat. Picture courtesy dailymail.co.uk Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Meanwhile, back in the store. Picture courtesy xinhuanet.com Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Silent Running: Opel Pushes Ampera As Cop Car http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/silent-running-opel-pushes-ampera-as-cop-car/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/silent-running-opel-pushes-ampera-as-cop-car/#comments Mon, 14 Feb 2011 14:30:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383825 It’s not out yet, and it won’t be before the end of the year, but Opel is already flogging the Euro-version of the Volt, the Ampera, as the perfect cop car. Main selling point: It’s a veritable multi mission vehicle. “Whether emission free on patrol, or silent during undercover surveillance, or fast and persistent when […]

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It’s not out yet, and it won’t be before the end of the year, but Opel is already flogging the Euro-version of the Volt, the Ampera, as the perfect cop car. Main selling point: It’s a veritable multi mission vehicle. “Whether emission free on patrol, or silent during undercover surveillance, or fast and persistent when in hot pursuit – the Opel Ampera is the ideal police cruiser,” brags Opel, which appears to humor AutoBild.

The paper grants the Ampera perseverance (500 km range), low emissions, and the ability “to silently sneak up to the scene of the crime.” But fast? “A top speed of 161 km/h may be not enough to keep up with the gangsters in their hot rodded escape vehicle.”

Be it as it may, “in the end, the matter will be doomed to failure by the price: €42,900 probably won’t be what the police wants to spend,” writes AutoBild. “That’s what a civilian has to plunk down when he wants to drive an Ampera.” $58,000 also would be a bit rich for an American police dept.

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What’s Wrong With This Picture: Stealth Fuzz Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-stealth-fuzz-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/11/whats-wrong-with-this-picture-stealth-fuzz-edition/#comments Mon, 01 Nov 2010 19:55:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=371100 You’re driving down the road at a spirited tempo when you see a big, black, tuned Taurus. No biggie, right? Wrong… at least, as long as Ford’s SEMA-bound Interceptor Stealth Concept helps police departments get past the car’s wrong-wheel-drive problem. And between its insanely stealthy looks, and its lack of previous cop-duty baggage, Interceptor Stealths […]

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You’re driving down the road at a spirited tempo when you see a big, black, tuned Taurus. No biggie, right?

Wrong… at least, as long as Ford’s SEMA-bound Interceptor Stealth Concept helps police departments get past the car’s wrong-wheel-drive problem. And between its insanely stealthy looks, and its lack of previous cop-duty baggage, Interceptor Stealths will be hell to spot on enthusiastic drives. Here’s hoping they end up on detective duty rather than traffic patrols…

aurusintereptorstealth1 aurusintereptorstealth4 aurusintereptorstealth3 Ford Taurus Interceptor Stealth Concept aurusintereptorstealth2 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Chinese Police Stops Government Agency From Publishing Confusing Car Data http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/chinese-police-stops-government-agency-from-publishing-confusing-car-data/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/10/chinese-police-stops-government-agency-from-publishing-confusing-car-data/#comments Fri, 22 Oct 2010 13:50:02 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=369791 Ever since the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, a government agency that “assists the government in such activities as auto standard and technical regulation formulating, product certification testing, quality system certification, industry planning and policy research, information service and common technology research” started issuing monthly car sales numbers, we had our issues with them. […]

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Ever since the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, a government agency that “assists the government in such activities as auto standard and technical regulation formulating, product certification testing, quality system certification, industry planning and policy research, information service and common technology research” started issuing monthly car sales numbers, we had our issues with them.

Month after month, they came out with data early, received headlines all over the world, and when the official CAAM numbers came out, they were totally different. There were attempts to explain that CATRC reports registrations, whereas CAAM reports deliveries to dealers. But the numbers were too far apart. In August, we yelped “Come on, guys. China is the world’s largest auto market. Why do we have to endure this rigmarole every month?” When we reported the September numbers, the CATRC was conspicuously absent. Now, we know why.

China’s biggest car site, Sohu, reports (in Chinese) that we were spared September numbers from CATRC, that there will be no October numbers, and that there will be no CATRC numbers thereafter. Sohu has it from “informed sources” that China’s Public Security Bureau (i.e. the police, the Department of Motorvehicles, and sundry other functions rolled into one) has turned off the stream of data to CATRC. Apparently, we were not the only ones who were unhappy with the data. China’s auto manufacturers association CAAM has voiced their dissatisfaction with the data, says Sohu, which eventually prompted “the relevant departments to intervene.”

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