Polk undercover drug investigators play Wii during raid

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jackets, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. jackets

    jackets Gamer/Anime fan

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    YouTube - Cops play Wii game during drug raid With guns drawn and flashlights cutting through darkened rooms, Polk County undercover drug investigators stormed the home of convicted drug dealer Michael Difalco near Lakeland in March.

    As investigators searched the home for drugs, some drug task force members found other ways to occupy their time. Within 20 minutes of entering Difalco's house, some of the investigators found a Wii video bowling game and began bowling frame after frame.

    While some detectives hauled out evidence such as flat screen televisions and shotguns, others threw strikes, gutter balls and worked on picking up spares.

    A Polk County sheriff's detective cataloging evidence repeatedly put down her work and picked up a Wii remote to bowl. When she hit two strikes in a row, she raised her arms above her head, jumping and kicking.

    While a female detective lifted a nearby couch looking for evidence, another sheriff's detective focused on pin action.

    But detectives with the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Auburndale, Lakeland and Winter Haven police departments did not know that a wireless security camera connected to a computer inside Difalco's home was recording their activity.

    The recording obtained by News Channel 8 showed several members of the county's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force entering the house shortly after 8 a.m. According to the search warrant, their mission was to search for drugs, stolen property and the fruits of any illegal drug activity.

    Now there are questions on how the impromptu bowling tournament might affect the case against Difalco.

    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd denies it will have any effect.

    "That absolutely is not true; that doesn't invalidate the search at all," Judd said. "Now the defendant would like for it to invalidate the search, but unfortunately for him, it won't."

    Judd, who watched the video during an interview last week, called the situation an embarrassment.

    "I'm not pleased that they played that Wii bowling game," Judd said. The sheriff's office oversees the drug task force. Judd said he initiated an internal administrative investigation of the incident.

    "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."

    Task force members played the video game at various times during the day, for a total of a little over an hour of playing time. The competition proved to be quite competitive at times. A task force supervisor from the Lakeland Police Department, gun at his side, pumped his fist after picking up a strike on the first ball he threw. The video showed he continued bowling frame after frame, competing with another undercover detective.

    "Obviously, this is not the kind of behavior we condone," Lakeland Police Chief Roger Boatner said. "There was a lot of down time, but that does not excuse the fact that we should act as the consummate professionals."

    "Certainly this was a case of bad judgment," Auburndale Police Chief Nolan McLeod said. "We will handle it appropriately."

    Winter Haven police Sgt. Brad Coleman said Chief E.C. Waters had not viewed the video. "If there is any indication that someone did something inappropriately, we will do something about it," Coleman said.

    Court records show detectives placed Difalco's home under surveillance as far back as December 2008.

    "We knew he had weapons," Judd said. "He's a bad guy."

    His history includes an extensive arrest record dating back to 1995. Difalco, 43, served three years in state prison from 2002 to 2005 for trafficking drugs, owning and operating a chop shop, and grand theft.

    In what Judd called "brilliant police work," the task force placed Difalco under surveillance and took him into custody, away from his home and weapons, during the early morning hours of March 6, in the parking lot of a Circle K convenience store on Highway 98.

    Documents filed with the court say, in the March raid, detectives removed methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, weapons and more than $30,000 in stolen property.

    The 11 charges against Difalco include trafficking methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and operating a chop shop.

    According to sheriff's office records, 13 detectives and three sergeants spent nine hours searching Difalco's property, for drugs, stolen property and signs of any illegal drug activity.

    The raid cost taxpayers more than $4,000.

    Judd, Boatner and McLeod agree the bowling was inappropriate. But they challenge the notion that taxpayer dollars were wasted.

    "It was an expansive scene, a lot of searching to be done, a lot of waiting," Boatner said.

    "The nature of a search warrant is hurry up and wait," Judd said. "Am I trying to defend the fact that they were bowling, not at all. That was inappropriate."

    Not just inappropriate, but Tampa defense attorney Rick Escobar would argue the moment detectives turned on that video game and effectively seized it, they turned the search warrant into an illegal search.

    "I've never seen anything like this," Escobar said after he viewed some of the video. Escobar does not represent Difalco and has no connection to the case.

    "All the citizens are thinking, 'Wait a minute, we are paying these people to go out and protect us and here they are playing bowling on our time,' " he said.

    "The real question here is have they seized property that wasn't described in the search warrant?" Escobar asked. "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."

    Difalco's attorney declined comment.

    Chip Tulberry, a spokesperson for the Polk County State Attorney, declined to comment on the video, or the validity of the search warrant.

    "That's a discussion that will occur in court," he said.
     
  2. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 "No Mas" My Wallet

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    OMFG play Wii in your own time people :crazy: 
     
  3. jackets

    jackets Gamer/Anime fan

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    thats what i was thinking too
     
  4. Liselotte

    Liselotte Revenge is coming... TFW2005 Supporter

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    what if the suspect's home filled with tfs
     
  5. Megatronwp38

    Megatronwp38 Megatron? Is that you!?!?

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    LOL...That is ridiculously hilarious!
     
  6. TJOmega

    TJOmega The Plastic Addict Content Contributor

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    Good god and I used to LIVE in Lakeland... I'm shocked I make it out of the place alive
     
  7. comaface

    comaface Crush, kill, destroy

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    To be fair, that game is pretty addictive
     
  8. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 "No Mas" My Wallet

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    you knowi thought about this imagine if they had been caught playing GTA IV on xbox 360 lol
     
  9. cybertron2006

    cybertron2006 Fly By Clockwork Pictures

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    [fake British accent]That, sire, would amount to an improbable mountain of lols.[/fake British accent] LOLZ!
     
  10. Obvious Prime

    Obvious Prime Purple Repaint

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    wagglan games
     
  11. Lock Cade

    Lock Cade Tarn Fangirl TFW2005 Supporter

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    Couldn't they at least wait until they finished their raid/investigation before playing the Wii?
     
  12. Harbinger

    Harbinger ecnayonnA

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    unless wii bowling game was critical evidence to the case i really dont see the harm in it. its not like the stood around and played it for 20 minutes. they just took afew shots at it while having to stand around and wait.
     
  13. BurnedAlive

    BurnedAlive Horrorcon

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    Thats just sad...
     
  14. firehawc_69

    firehawc_69 cloppers = ignore list

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    This always kills me.

    No it didn't. Those tax dollars are already gone. That much of their budget was allocated for that raid, but it didn't cost taxpayers anything. Taxes are paid regardless of this happening or not. Does anyone really think that we'd get money back if that department came under budget for that year? Yeah, right....
     
  15. Cheetatron

    Cheetatron Eh

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    lol were these narcs high? I don't think any evidence uncovered should be thrown out though.
     
  16. Dran0n

    Dran0n Junk male

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    I love the game so, it's hard to resist.
     
  17. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    :lol  further proof how fun the Wii can be

    Someone keep an eye on Prowl Delta for when there's a tf collection in the house.
     
  18. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    What's this? Cops playing Wii at a raided house? That don't seem right. Fun loving, 215 average on Wii Bowling cops snatching a bad guy's wii motes?
    /sarcasm.


    It looks bad, but damn, don't ya think for once the cops should get a break?
    It's not like they loaded up a PS3 and started playing GTA IV or anything. and THEY DID take turns...

    Oh, they should get reprimanded for this, but i still think it's silly enough for me to not be too worried. it just seems funny as hell. not at all pro, but funny.
    Don't know why the one chick was excited over 2 strikes in a row. i have made several turkeys in that game...
     
  19. Omegatron

    Omegatron Mandatory Fun. Buy it now TFW2005 Supporter

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    I love living in Polk County. Shit this stupid didn't happen nearly as often when I lived in Columbus, OH.

    On a side note, I'll chat with a couple deputies this weekend at work, and see if they have any inside scoop.
     
  20. Rhapsody_Prime

    Rhapsody_Prime ...such Heroic Nonsence.

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    Whether or not the tax dollars where already spent in this instance, this is a poor depiction of what the police as a organization are supposed to represent and the image they are supposed to inflict upon civilians. While absolutely hilarious, this is the kind of action that leads people to wonder about abuse of power, and possibly leading to worry about their protection.

    "Well we could of caught that crook that slammed into that school bus full of fifth graders, but Sam here thought it would be better to ransack this here house and play some PS3"...


    Classic stupidity, GW-grade.

    End of Line
     

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