A Texas Policeman Said He's Never Seen Anything This Dumb in 27 Years

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Nov. 15 2013 2:30 PM

A Texas Policeman Said He's Never Seen Anything This Dumb in 27 Years

Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Alleged crimes: Criminal mischief, marijuana possession.

Advertisement

Fatal mistake: Turning himself in without realizing he was doing so.

The circumstances: Michael Logan Brown, a 19-year-old man from College Station, Texas, was apparently goofing around with some friends earlier this week when, somehow, he got his right hand caught in a set of handcuffs. (Typical Monday night in College Station.) This has happened to all of us at one point or another, to be sure, but when my friends and I engage in light handcuff play, we make sure to keep the handcuff key at the ready. Brown and his friends did not, and after presumably going through a list of possible handcuff-removal options—hacksaw, magic, acetylene torch—Brown decided to visit the local police station to see if the cops might be able to set him free.

This would have been a good idea, if not for two things. First, Brown was wanted on an outstanding warrant for criminal mischief. (According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Brown deliberately dove head-first into the windshield of a random car this October.* The real crime here is that nobody seems to have filmed this.) Second, Brown allegedly had a small amount of marijuana in his front pocket when he walked into the police station. Bad idea. If you’re going to bring weed into a police station, at least make sure to bring enough to share.

Anyway, the cops were nonplussed, as you might expect. “For somebody to come in with handcuffs, a warrant and marijuana ... in 27 years [that had] never happened before,” a bewildered College Station cop told the Eagle. After taking the warrant and the weed into account, the officers decided to keep Brown’s handcuffs on. He faces two misdemeanor charges.

How he could have been a lot smarter: Bookmarked Slate’s Crime blog! As I wrote in September, you can open a basic set of handcuffs with a paperclip and a little bit of patience. If Brown had been reading, he would’ve known that.

How he could have been a little smarter: Brown should have sought out a locksmith. If all the locksmiths were busy, he should have sought out a magician.

How he could have been a little dumber: “And in my other pocket, you’ll find a signed and notarized document in which I’ve pre-emptively pleaded guilty and waived my right to trial.”

How he could have been a lot dumber: “Hello, police? You’re going to laugh, but I have somehow trapped myself inside a prison cell.”

Ultimate Dumbness Ranking (UDR): A few weeks ago I wrote about a New Zealand man who tried to hitch a ride from a passing police car, even though he had weed in his pocket and several unpaid tickets to his name. This story is like that one, but even dumber. The fact that Brown’s alleged crimes were relatively minor prevents me from giving him the highest score possible, but he still earns an impressive 9 out of 10.

*Correction, Nov. 15, 2013: THis post originally misspelled the name of Bryan, Texas.

Previous Dumb Criminals

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.