Ray Kelly is the NYPD Commissioner with a heart of gold and a severe case of the flip-flops when it comes to how security technology in his city is used. The potential DHS chief candidate is a huge fan of the complete failure known as “stop and frisk”, as well as all the cameras and license plate readers the city has at its disposal, except when that technology is turned towards his officers. It’s classic Orwellian thinking, in which LEOs and the government get all the toys while you have to find the blind spots in all the cameras just to write in your journal. That journal these days meaning the internet, which of course doesn’t really offer any blind spots.
And that’s how we get headlines today about Ray Kelly apparently declaring war on someone going by the handle AfroDuck, which is exactly the comic relief the world needs right now. Who is AfroDuck, you ask? Well, he or she is an idiot who decided to circumnavigate Manhattan, a twenty-six-plus mile trip, in just twenty-four minutes. Then, because idiocy and internet-braggery go hand in hand like spaghetti and meatballs, AfroDuck uploaded a dash-cam video of the feat to the internet….
The anonymous speed demon averaged about 66 mph during the late-night circuit, which was captured on a dramatic dashboard-cam video and posted to YouTube under the username AfroDuckProduction. The drive breaks the previous mark of 26 minutes set in 2010. In both runs, the drivers cut out the top of Manhattan above the Cross Bronx Expressway.
So, let’s make this clear up front: this was a stupid thing to do. And, no, I’m not going to listen to anyone tell me about how a good driver can do this safely, or how over-protective we’ve become as a society. Shut up, you’re wrong. This is Manhattan and you shouldn’t be making speed runs, period, paragraph, full stop. And, while AfroDuck is getting the headlines for this, it should be noted that this isn’t a particularly new concept. A few years ago, Wired covered a driver who was trying to break the cross-country driving record, noting that earlier on, he’d been focused on doing a similar speed shot around Manhattan.
Having said that, AfroDuck may have a serious problem.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly promised to hunt down the dangerous driver, saying, “We now have license-plate readers in the city that will assist in this type of investigation.”
Other reports have officers stating that Ray Kelly has “declared war on AfroDuck” and plans on using all of that shiny awesome tech at his disposal to go after the speed demon. And, if their willingness to use stop and frisk as a law enforcement technique is any indication, I doubt the NYPD will mind terribly utilizing all of those license plate cameras to build at least a reckless driving case against him.
“You frankly can’t identify who I am by just looking at the video,” AfroDuck boasted to the car-geek Web site Jalopnik about his Aug. 26 ride, “and records were meant to be broken.” AfroDuck used a 2006 BMW Z4 for the breakneck drive.
That may be, but the NYPD likely can review all the cameras they have to find the license plate of the Z4 that was barreling through Manhattan sometime in the past few weeks and that plate will point them back to AfroDuck. As I said, this driver is an idiot, but it might be new territory to have the chief of police going after an individual simply for bragging online about a speed run and then using all kinds of new technology to do it. It’s a brave new surveillance state world, friends, which means you just can’t brag about your dumb crimes online anymore.
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