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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.

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.

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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About the author

Reid McCarter

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.