(A take-off of Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues music video)
John Balcerzak is a police officer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and president of the Milwaukee Police Association. In 1991, he was fired for having handed over an injured victim to serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, despite the victim’s protests.
Balcerzak and his partner Joseph Gabrish discovered the victim, 14-year-old Konerak Sinthasomphone, after he had managed to escape from Dahmer’s apartment. Though the Laotian immigrant had been in the country for ten years and spoke English fluently, in his drugged and brain-injured state, Konerak was unable to communicate his situation to authorities. Dahmer found the boy with the police and convinced them that the boy was his 19-year-old lover. Two African-American women, Sandra Smith and Nicole Childress, were convinced that Sinthasomphone’s life was in peril and tried to save the boy. However, Balcerzak and his partner chose to believe Dahmer and allowed him to keep Sinthasomphone. Dahmer later sexually abused, killed, and dismembered the boy.
Balcerzak and Gabrish were terminated from the Milwaukee Police Department after their actions were widely publicized, including an audiotape of the officers making homophobic statements to their dispatcher and cracking jokes about having reunited the “lovers”. The officers had never checked the boy’s ID because they said he appeared to be 19 years old. The officers did not check Dahmer’s identification; had they done so, they would have discovered that Dahmer was a sex offender previously convicted for molesting Sinthasomphone’s older brother.
Both officers later appealed their termination, won, and were reinstated with back pay. Balcerzak and Gabrish were named “officers of the year” by their local union, the Milwaukee Police Association, for fighting a “righteous” battle to regain their jobs.
In May 2005, Balcerzak was elected president of the Milwaukee Police Association, defeating Sebastian Raclaw by a vote of 521 to 453. As president, he has been criticized for failing to protect officers from mandatory overtime and not supporting African-American officer Alfonzo Glover, who was charged with homicide and later committed suicide. By June 2006, the union vice president had resigned because of disagreements with Balcerzak’s “style of leadership.” A petition to remove Balcerzak was filed and a recall election was held in August 2006. The results were 213 for a recall and 397 to retain him.
To review: known sex offender rapes boy. Cop makes gay jokes, hands back boy to rapist. Rapist murders boy. Cop gets elected head of Police Association. Cop is still head of Police Association today.
Wildly inappropriate but undeniably hilarious
Photo credit here
These are the most popular Google search terms for each letter.
A is for Amazon
B is for BBC
C is for CNN
D is for Dell
E is for Ebay (not earth)
F is for Facebook
G is for Google
H is for HP
I is for Images
J is for Jobs
K is for Kijiji
L is for Love
M is for MSN
N is for News
O is for Obama
P is for PayPal
Q is for Quotes
R is for Real Estate
S is for Sony
T is for Target
U is for UPS
V is for Video
W is for http://www.youtube.com
X is for Xbox
Y is for Yahoo
Z is for Zune
In the last couple of weeks two seemingly unrelated events occurred. Nov 26 – Nov 29: terrorists carried out ten coordinated attacks, killing nearly 200 civilians in India. Nov 30: the UK’s Times erroneously reported a Microsoft/Yahoo deal in which Microsoft would acquire Yahoo’s search business for $20b.
What’s important is how the two events were covered by traditional versus new media. In short, new media triumphed.
Regarding terrorism in India –
It took established news organizations 2-3 hours on average before they were able to provide any kind of substantial information on the attacks. Meanwhile, there were hundreds of online outlets with real time updates from private citizens giving first hand accounts of the incidents.
A great summary of the events as well as a list of some of the best new media news sources can be found here at Matthew Ingram’s blog; but the point is throughout the attacks more and better information was available on Flickr, Youtube and Twitter than on CNN, ABC or the BBC.
Yes the information online may not have been as accessible to the average, non-tech savvy user but that’s irrelevant. The model and legitimacy of new media journalism was proven.
The issue with the Times’ false story is more of the same. The Times, a well established news media source, published a story that was patently false (and over a week later the article is still up on their site). However, tech blogs like Techcrunch reported on this false story within minutes – first questioning the validity of the story and hours later discounting it entirely.
The point isn’t to bash traditional media. However, so many from that community have been unjustifiably dismissive of new media news coverage that it’s fun to see them wiping a little egg off their sour visages.