RIP Live PD · Money Laundering · Chris Hansen

Also: A crime-related tech roundup

A day after Cops got the boot, Live PD, Dan Abrams’s admittedly pro-cop show about police activity, was also canceled. Speaking with Fox News, as one does when one wants to convince people that one is a totally moderate non-bootlicking non-racist, Abrams said that his show was cut by A&E "due to pressure ... based on the current environment that we are in." In fact, he said, given the current movement toward more police accountability, "I would have thought we need more things like Live PD.”

Abrams’s Twitter feed is similarly confounding! Setting aside personal politics, his inability to read the current room is quite jaw-dropping, especially for someone who claims to be an expert in the media. Then again, it’s that expertise that led Abrams to give alleged rapist Matt Lauer a platform, so perhaps, even now, I am giving Abrams far too much credit.

That said, while the arguments he’s currently presenting — that shows like Live PD force transparency and accountability on police — are clearly retcon bullshit (look, less than a year ago Abrams was saying that the show’s intended audience is friends, families, and fans of cops. WE HAVE GOOGLE DAN), he’s not wrong.

Stick with me, folks — what about, basically, Twitch but for body cams? Viewers can spin their way through cops all over the country, and get a live feed of whatever cops are getting on their body cams at the moment. After all, police officers in most departments have, as part of their training, instructions to turn their body cams off when they engage in potentially harmful-to-others activities like conversations with at-risk witnesses or confidential informants. It seems like if a police officer knows that he’s on a live feed all the time, maybe he or she will be less likely to do, well, all the things that they do that have gotten us where we are today. And, as the police tell citizens who balk at random stops and handing over their ID for no reason: if you’re not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about? — EB

One of my favorite intermittent podcasts is back with an episode on how banks detect money-laundering. I swear we’ve talked about Forensic Finance, the podcast on how banks have the power to fight systemic criminal issues like human trafficking (that was episode one, which aired last August).

The show’s back this week, and this time the topic’s money-laundering, and how banks detect that type of illicit activity. As with the last ep, this is processy, inside-baseball stuff, and it’s not dumbed down — but it’s also only 16 minutes long. You can listen to the episode here, and find a transcript of the show here. — EB

Last year on Best Evidence: On June 12, 2019, here are some of the things we were talking about:

Read the whole June 12, 2019 issue of Best Evidence here.

That’s right! We’ve been doing this for over a year, which in blog years (yes, Sarah and I still use this as a metric) means this thing is old enough to drive. Help us keep this going until it can vote, drink, or rent a car by sharing Best Evidence with a pal.

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Or, if you can afford it, investing in a paid subscription. Sarah, Eve, and our little learners’-permitted newsletter all thank you! — EB

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how crime-tracking apps and technology help people think that the world is more dangerous — or more in need of policing — than it might actually be. It’s something we’ve talked about a lot here on BE, from the sketchball assertions made by the folks behind Ring doorbells, or how other apps foster mean-world syndrome. — EB

I’m certainly not the only person who’s taking a fresh look at Silicon Valley’s relationship with the police in recent weeks, especially, perhaps, how that tech can be leveraged for good instead of for ill. Here’s a roundup of some of the best and most thought-provoking coverage on the debate that I’ve seen this week:

  • Amazon Buckles to Pressure Over Police Use of Facial Recognition” {AdWeek] “As a national spotlight remains focused on police brutality, Amazon is implementing a one-year moratorium on the use of its facial recognition technology by police departments.” Wow, one year? Awesome, we should have everything worked out by then.

  • Inside Nextdoor’s Karen Problem” [The Verge] “Can Nextdoor really be a social network for communities if black people don’t feel safe on it?” Yeah, breaking news, Nextdoor users are all basically Amy Cooper. But still, reading this article gives you a handy link to send to the next person who presents some bullshit they saw on Nextdoor as gospel because “if it wasn’t true, they’d take it off.”

  • Why Citizen has become the unofficial social network for protests” [Fast Company] “The George Floyd demonstrations have made the police scanner app into an overnight hit. But it’s unclear whether the app is helping people stay safe or stoking their fears.” Is there a better mean-world transmission agent than Citizen? (Also, I wonder how the watch people feel about this app?)

One last thing to read before I let you go for the weekend. Mel Magazine takes another look at Chris Hansen, the To Catch a Predator host who, in January of 2019, was arrested for allegedly kiting over $13K of bad checks.

This piece by C. Brian Smith was obviously in the works long before the death of George Floyd got even the most complacent American to start questioning their assumptions about crime, and its publication about a week ago is pretty stunning timing. Hey, maybe stings — like the ones Hansen participated in, for our entertainment, on TCaP — have some issues! It’s a great read, and a wild look at a guy who, like so many of his colleagues in media and elsewhere, seem to have a self-destructive inability to reflect. — EB

Next week on Best Evidence: Something tells me we’ll find plenty to talk about!

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