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Police Play Wii Bowling During Drug Raid

| 22 Sep 2009 14:53
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A bunch of bored police officers in Polk County, Florida, were caught on video playing Wii Bowling while on duty - in the middle of a raid on a drug dealer's house.

We all get bored. We all screw in time on the job now and then. But I think most of us can agree that a search for drugs and weapons during a raid on a known drug dealer's home is not the ideal time to be playing videogames. Too bad nobody bothered to explain that to the officers of the county's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force.

Within 20 minutes of entering the home of convicted dealer Michael Difalco, according to a report by Tampa Bay Online, officers began playing Wii Bowling on the suspect's console. Members of the task force played on and off throughout the course of the search, amounting to "a little over an hour" of total game time. What they didn't realize, however, is that it was all being recorded by a wireless security camera Difalco had installed in his house.

While the usual furor over wasted taxpayer dollars has probably already erupted, of greater concern is the impact the gaming could have on the search warrant. Defense attorney Rick Escobar isn't involved in the case but says that as soon as the detectives turned on the game and "effectively seized it," the search became illegal.

"The real question here is, have they seized property that wasn't described in the search warrant?" he said. "Clearly if they're using it, they've seized it and for totally improper purposes, because it's for entertainment. Investigations are not for entertainment."

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd denied that the gaming would impact the case but said he was "not pleased" with the behavior of the officers involved. "That is not appropriate conduct at a search warrant," he said. "But I am less pleased with the supervision that didn't walk in and say, turn that off. That's what supervision should have done."

I would think he'd be even less pleased that members of a supposedly elite anti-drug task force would need to be watched over like that. That's not supervision, Sheriff, that's babysitting.

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