Philly sheriff slammed for allegedly losing guns, AI-generated news stories, thousands spent on mascot, DJs

on Apr23
by | Comments Off on Philly sheriff slammed for allegedly losing guns, AI-generated news stories, thousands spent on mascot, DJs |

Much like Dolton, Illinois self-declared “Super Mayor” Tiffany Henyard, Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal has been slammed with allegations of wild offenses ranging from spending department money on promotional items like trading cards with her likeness to having bogus news stories about her being generated by AI.

While Bilal testified before the City Council last year that her department is underfunded to the point it “jeopardizes the lives and safety of our sworn and civilian personnel,” her department’s spending habits indicate that money may have been used in questionable ways, according to a new report from The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office allegedly spent $9,250 on a new mascot, an African-American Wild Western-style female sheriff named Deputy Sheriff Justice, who debuted at the Thanksgiving Day parade, made by a company that makes some of the world’s most recognizable mascot costumes, like that of the Geico gecko.


Rochelle Bilal

Philadelphia Sheriff Rochelle Bilal speaks at a news conference, Philadelphia, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Inquirer reported that a great deal of money has been spent on goods and services that have “little to do with the sheriff’s core duties,” including, “About $40,000 went to companies that supply branded merchandise such as backpacks, polo shirts or fidget spinners; $20,000 went toward food and catering costs, including a $6,600 party at Chickie’s & Pete’s; and $8,000 more paid for professional DJ’s and other entertainment.”

The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office defended the new mascot in a press release responding to several allegations in the Inquirer report Monday, suggesting the character is “designed to counteract bullying and reach school-age children in a more comprehensive and engaging way. It encourages them to love themselves, and each other, and build positive relationships with law enforcement.”

The office also argued DJs “enhance Office morale at promotional ceremonies for deputies who tirelessly serve the community.” 

“The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office stands by its requests made at the April 17, 2024, budget hearing regarding the Office being grossly underfunded. We are requesting additional funding for staffing, technology, and other costs required to perform our law enforcement and statutory responsibilities,” the statement said.

Going on the offense, the press release recalled that in 2022, “the Philadelphia Inquirer pledged to become an anti-racist organization. Instead, they have become a racist, sexist, anti-community, and libelous organization that fails to investigate or publish the truth of any matter regarding this Office.” 

Then, similar to Henyard’s own complaints about being criticized as an African American woman in a position of authority, the office slammed the Inquirer reporters directly, claiming they “constantly attempt to hinder the progressive and reformative work of this Office led by an African American woman.”


Philadelphia skyline

The Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office defended its spending in a press release responding to several allegations in the Inquirer report Monday.  (Joe Daniel Price via Getty Images)

The sheriff’s office has also faced controversy over allegedly losing firearms; a city controller report last year determined that the sheriff’s office was missing 185 guns, which the office disputes.

But in a decisively modern twist, the department has also been criticized by multiple news outlets for allegedly bogus news stories generated by ChatGPT that were positive about the Sherriff’s Office/Sheriff Rochelle Bilal’s accomplishments, which had been falsely attributed to real news outlets.

“I think we have seen at the local and national level, not only a disregard for truth and the institutions we have thought of as being the gatekeepers to truth,” Bilal’s former finance chief and whistleblower Brett Mandel told NBC10 when the AI story broke in February, “but I think we have eroded all trust in this area.”

When NBC10 reached out about these fake stories being written by AI, the sheriff’s office argued that, while there are some positive news stories written about the sheriff, “After review, it has been determined that an outside consultant for the re-election campaign utilized ChatGPT in support of initiatives that were in-fact completed by the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office under the Administration of Sheriff Rochelle Bilal. It is now clear that the artificial intelligence service generated fake news articles to support the initiatives that were part of the AI prompt. Our campaign provided the outside consultant talking points which were then provided to the AI service.”


Fox News Digital reached out to the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department and did not receive an immediate reply.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source link

Previous postMeasles confirmed in West Virginia in first case since 2009 Next post'Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona' is one American community's route to revival

Chicago Financial Times

Copyright © 2024 Chicago Financial Times

Updates via RSS
or Email