Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Please enjoy some bizarre police reports in animated form

The sort of language used by government officials—stiff and matter-of-fact—can, under the right circumstances, be hilarious. Official-ese descriptions may work well enough to summarize break-ins or issue parking tickets, but the terms used in, say, court transcripts or police reports often fall flat when confronted with the absurd.

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Understanding that the latter offers a rich comedic vein, animator Michael McCurdy enlisted residents of Port Townsend—a city in Jefferson County, Washington—to read out a handful of notable police logs over his animations of the events in question.

The clip features several gripping cases, such as a deer whose antlers had been covered in Christmas lights, a thief who waved a knife at a guy after stealing his skateboard/bike hybrid, a body sighted in the grass that turns out to be a woman eating a sandwich, and another who set up a makeshift bedroom—she had a bed, a nightstand, and other belongings”—at the city docks.

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In some of the narrations, such as the story of a flower-covered man, dressed only in a towel, enjoying the early morning sunshine on the side of the road, the reader seems to be having a hard time holding it together. (In this case, the narrator breaks and starts laughing it at the story’s epilogue: “No crime had been committed.”)

Otherwise, everything is played as straight as the language of the reports themselves...at least until the dramatic reenactment that ends the video. McCurdy’s simple, mostly black-and-white animations help bring the stories to life without taking anything away from the desert-dry, unintentional humor that comes from cops trying to report on everything from a child requesting his own arrest to a would-be library bandit driving his windshield-less car in a ski-mask and goggles.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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