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KopBusters Reality Show: RawStory has an interesting post on what apparently is a new reality show, KopBusters. As I understand it, the idea behind the show is to give police officers an opportunity to engage in misconduct: If an officer takes the bait, the show films the officer engaging in the misconduct and creates a show about it. [UPDATE: Some of the details about the show and the first episode seem sort of fishy at this stage, so perhaps it is best to approach this story with a healthy skepticism.]

  KopBusters describes their first episode as follows:
  KopBusters rented a house in Odessa, Texas and began growing two small Christmas trees under a grow light similar to those used for growing marijuana. When faced with a suspected marijuana grow, the police usually use illegal FLIR cameras and/or lie on the search warrant affidavit claiming they have probable cause to raid the house. Instead of conducting a proper investigation which usually leads to no probable cause, the Kops lie on the affidavit claiming a confidential informant saw the plants and/or the police could smell marijuana coming from the suspected house.
  The trap was set and less than 24 hours later, the Odessa narcotics unit raided the house only to find KopBuster's attorney waiting under a system of complex gadgetry and spy cameras that streamed online to the KopBuster's secret mobile office nearby.
  The attorney was handcuffed and later released when eleven KopBuster detectives arrived with the media in tow to question the illegal raid. The police refused to give KopBusters the search warrant affidavit which is suspected to contain the lies regarding the probable cause.
H/t: FourthAmendment.com

  UPDATE: You can watch a local TV news segment about show and this particular sting here.

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KopBusters Hoax Looks Like It Was a Hoax Itself: A few weeks ago, I posted about what was supposed to be a new reality TV show, "KopBusters," that showcased police misconduct. The first show was about a fake drug house in Odessa, Texas, that the police allegedly raided without probable cause based on a bogus warrant. I then added an update, to the effect that "[s]ome of the details about the show and the first episode seem sort of fishy at this stage, so perhaps it is best to approach this story with a healthy skepticism."

  I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any new developments on the story, and it seems that recent developments point in the direction of the show being a misrepresentation and the claims of police misconduct being false. In particular, it seems that KopBusters staffers themselves made an anonymous tip to try to cause the police to get a warrant. (The show director has declined to say whether staffers sent in the tip -- a weird position perhaps best explained by the fact that making a false crime report is a crime. However, a Google cache of the show's message board shows a post, since edited, indicating that it did. Compare a contemporary reference to the pre-edited version here with the edited version here.)

  In light of these developments, the KopBusters show is now taking the view that the episode doesn't show police misconduct but rather "judge misconduct," on the theory that the anonymous tip shouldn't have amounted to probable cause and the judge shouldn't have signed the warrant. (See here, at the bottom.) The problem with this argument is that as explained here, the anonymous tip had a number of details that would help corroborate the story and help create probable cause. It's hard to know without actually reading the affidavit whether its facts actually amounted to probable cause, but an anonymous tip can create probable cause if it's sufficiently detailed and the police corroborate those details, see Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983). I would need to read the warrant affidavit to know if that happened here. But at the very least the claims of police misconduct appear to be false, and all we seem to have left are some debatable claims that a judge may have signed a warrant that may have been based on less than probable cause.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. KopBusters Hoax Looks Like It Was a Hoax Itself:
  2. KopBusters Reality Show:
24 Comments