Cops compete to steal the most cardboard signs from homeless people

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Police in Texas were caught holding a contest to see who could steal the most cardboard signs from homeless people

By John Vibes

TEXAS (INTELLIHUB) — Two police officers in Texas were suspended for three days after it was discovered that they were involved with a contest where cops would compete to steal signs from homeless people. Derek Hester and Daniel Zoelzer were both found with a collection of cardboard signs.

Derek Hester was caught with eight signs in his police car, while Zoelzer was tipped off and stashed his ten signs in a city trash can just before he was searched.  Although only two officers were caught, it is likely that this was not an isolated incident.

The two told the internal affairs investigator, that they were issuing criminal trespass warnings when they took the signs. But according to the report, no homeless people were issued criminal trespass warnings by either officer in 2013. Most of those warnings in Midland are written, but some are verbal, according to the Washington Post.

“The fact that they are making sport out of collecting the personal property of homeless individuals could be seen as them targeting these individuals for discriminatory harassment,” said Cassandra Champion, an attorney in the Odessa office of the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Simply holding a sign is absolutely a protected part of our free speech.”

The contest was alluded to in text messages between Hester, 25, and Zoelzer, 26, obtained by the AP. It was unclear which of the officers sent each message.

“My bad man when he first ask me about it he didn’t seem mad or anything so I just told him me and u wereaking (sic) a game outta it when we’d trespass them and stuff,” one text read. Another read, “Man this is some bs.”

The two officers told the internal affairs investigator, that they were issuing criminal trespass warnings when they took the signs. But according to the report, no homeless people were issued criminal trespass warnings by either officer in 2013. Most of those warnings in Midland are written, but some are verbal, Fox News reported.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Writer Bio:

(Photo: Intellihub.com)

John Vibes is an investigative journalist, staff writer and editor for Intellihub News where this article originally appeared. He is also the author of an 90 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” and is an artist with an established record label. You can find him on his Facebook.
For media inquires, interviews, questions or suggestions for this author, email: vibes@intellihub.com or telephone: (347) 759-6075.
Read more articles by this author here.
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Editor's note: The Shepard Ambellas Show airs LIVE weekdays (Mon-Fri) on the Shepard Ambellas YouTube channel from 5-7 pm Eastern/4C/2P. Subscribe now! Turn notifications on immediately. An archived version of the show is also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Podchaser, JioSaavn, and Spreaker for you listening pleasure.