2014 was a stellar year for cry-babies. But who was the cry-babiest cry-baby of the year?
Below is a selection of people and organizations who won Cry-Baby of the Week over the last 12 months which I've whittled down to ten finalists. It was a difficult list to assemble, and many worthy candidates didn't make the cut (big shout-out to the cop who shot a woman who honked at him and the girl who sued her parents because they wouldn't pay for her college tuition) but these are my final choices.
In addition to the extremely prestigious "Cry-Baby of the Year" title, the winner will receive the above trophy. So don't forget to scroll down to the bottom to vote.
Cry-Baby #1: Sheboygan Falls High School
The incident: A high school basketball player threw up the "three-point" hand sign in a photo.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: The police were called and the boy was suspended from his basketball team.
In January, the Sheboygan Falls News ran a story about Jordan, Jamal, and Juwaun Jackson, three basketball-playing brothers at Sheboygan Falls High School in Wisconsin. The paper took a photo of the three boys (which you can see above) to accompany the article. In the photo two of the boys are gesturing with their hands.
Jordan, the boy on the left, explained the gestures to TMJ News. "When you make a three, everyone does this sign," he said. "Probably you've seen LeBron James do it or someone." He explained that his younger brother's hand sign was just him "pointing at the camera."
According to the school, some parents got in touch to complain that the boys were doing what "looked like gang symbols." So the school called the police (!) to report it. I feel at this point it's worth noting that the town of Sheboygan Falls is 95 percent white.
The local police investigated the photo (!!!) and were "able to confirm that the sign was indeed a gang sign." However, police chief Steve Riffel acknowledged that the boys " posed no threat to the community."
This wasn't enough to stop the boys being punished, and both Jordan and Jamal were suspended from the school's basketball team. They missed one game, but had their suspension lifted by a school committee.
Cry-Baby #2: The Lincolnshire Police
The incident: A guy took a Snapchat of a cop and drew some dicks on top of him.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: His phone was confiscated and he was forced to pay an $800 fine and do community service.
Last summer, 20-year-old construction worker Jordan Barrack witnessed a bar fight in Lincoln, England. He was taken to Sleaford police station to give a statement about what he saw.
While he was waiting to be interviewed, he sneaked a photo of police constable Charles Harris, the interviewing officer. "[PC Charles] was writing things down, and I just sat there bored out of my head, so I got my phone out and thought I would be a bit cocky and did it," Jordan told the Lincolnshire Echo.
He then drew two penises on the picture before sending it to some friends.
Once the police discovered what he'd done, they seized his phone and charged him with "posting a grossly offensive, obscene picture on a social media site."
Appearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court earlier this year, Jordan pleaded guilty to the charge. He was ordered to pay the officer $650 in compensation as well as $150 in court fees. He also has to complete 40 hours of community service.
Speaking to the court, Jordan said, "I am terribly sorry, and it was a massive mistake, and I shouldn't have done it."
He later told the Echo that he was "massively shocked" by the fine. "People have come up to me and said they can't believe it got to court and said it was a waste of taxpayers' money."
At the time the story was originally reported, Jordan had not received his phone back, despite it being five months after the initial incident.
Cry-Baby #3: The Perry Family
The incident: A family was told they were not allowed to bring knives into an amusement park.
The appropriate response: Nothing. Why on earth would you be allowed to bring a knife into an amusement park?
The actual response: They attacked two cops and started a mini riot.
In June, five members of the Perry family attempted to visit the Canobie Lake amusement park in Salem, New Hampshire.
At least two members of the family had hunting knives attached to their belts as they tried to enter the park. Predictably, a member of staff told them they were not allowed to take the knives into the park and would have to leave them in their car.
This didn't sit too well with the family, who reportedly became "belligerent" and launched a "curse-filled tirade" against the staff member.
Two police officers who were already at the park attempted to intervene. After giving several verbal warnings to the family, an officer told a male member of the family that he was under arrest and attempted to handcuff him.
As he placed the cuffs on the man, the rest of the family attacked, jumping on the officers' backs, punching them, kicking them, and attempting to grab their weapons. Both officers were injured. One had to be treated for a dislocated shoulder.
When backup arrived and moved to arrest everyone, the mother of the family faked a seizure.
The family was charged with a range of crimes including felony riot, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
Cry-Baby #4: Bayview Middle School
The incident: A girl took a razor from a kid who was self-harming.
The appropriate response: Congratulating her.
The actual response: She was suspended from school.
Adrionna Harris is a sixth-grade student at Bayside Middle School in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
One Thursday back in March, Adrionna found one of her friends self-harming with a very small razor blade like the one pictured above.
According to Adrionna's mother, no teachers were around, and Adrionna felt the self-harming was "a 9-1-1 situation," so she took the blade from the boy and immediately threw it in the trash.
Adrionna then went to school staff and told them what had happened. They responded by giving her a ten-day suspension because of the school's zero-tolerance policy on possessing weapons on school property.
Speaking to WAVY News, her mother Rachel said, "I was very shocked that a student would get suspended for saving another child."
Rachel also said that she made several calls to the school to try to discuss the suspension, but her calls were all ignored. The school only contacted her after a local news channel made inquiries to the members of the school board.
At a due-process conference the school held, it was agreed that Adrionna would not be expelled, at least, but the school decided it would not overturn her suspension.
"Even if I got in trouble, it didn't matter because I was helping him," said Adrionna. "I would do it again even if I got suspended."
Cry-Baby #5: Melissa Parsons
The incident: A park ranger danced while on the job.
The appropriate response: Smiling or cringing, depending on your age and if you're related to the park ranger.
The actual response: A woman filmed him dancing, complained to his bosses that it was obscene, and got him fired.
Until June Deryl Nelson, a park ranger in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was known as "the dancing park ranger." He was known as this, obviously, because he would often dance while on duty.
His dance sessions started about a year ago, when he joined a group of people who were in the park dancing to "the Macarena." People reacted well to it, so it became his "thing."
Earlier this month, Deryl was filmed dancing by a woman named Melissa Parsons. You can see parts of the video in this news clip. If you're unable to watch the video, it shows a slightly dorky middle-aged man dancing like a drunk dad at a wedding.
Melissa said she filmed it because she and others were offended by Deryl's explicit moves. "As a parent and seeing all the parents that were covering their kids' eyes and turning their heads away..." she told News Channel 9. "It wasn't something you would expect to see in Coolidge Park or anywhere from a grown man, especially a man in uniform.
"He went all the way down to the ground, he came back up from the ground, he was grabbing areas that you would see on a rated-R movie," she added.
Melissa sent the video to the public works department, who fired Deryl. They listed "conduct unbecoming of an employee" and "inefficiency or negligence in performance of duties" as the reasons for his termination.
After finding out that she'd gotten the man fired, News Channel 9 reports that Melissa said, "Something needed to be done, whether it be fire him or reprimand him, but it was at the city's discretion to do so."
After news of the ranger's termination went viral, Chattanooga mayor, Andy Berke, posted a statement on Change.org, claiming that the dancing was one of multiple reasons Deryl was fired.
Cry-Baby #6: Kathy Rowe
The incident: A woman lost out on her dream home.
The appropriate response: Finding another home.
The actual response: She tried to trick some guys into raping the people who outbid her.
Back in 2011, 52-year-old Kathy Rowe was hoping to buy a home in San Diego but lost out to an unnamed couple.
As Kathy has a disabled daughter and this is one of the few single-story houses in the area, she was not too happy about not getting the home. So she launched a campaign of harassment against the new owners.
Kathy's campaign of terror started small, with things like signing the couple up for junk mail, sending religious groups to their home, and listing their house as being for sale.
She then started to get creative, posting online announcements for a New Year's Eve party and a free Mexican fireworks giveaway at their house. She also sent Valentine's Day cards from the husband to local married women.
But, several months ago, Kathy escalated her efforts even further. According to a report on NBC San Diego, Kathy posted an ad on Craigslist posing as the new homeowners. The ad was titled "Carmel Valley Freak Show" which sought men to come to the house for sex during the day while the husband was at work.
One man responded to the ad via email, and Kathy, posing as the female homeowner, told him to "just show up at the door and force [your] way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no." She also told the man that she loved anal sex and threesomes.
Another man who responded to the listing actually turned up at the home. Luckily, the husband answered the door when he did.
After this incident, Kathy was arrested and charged with soliciting forcible rape and forcible sodomy, as well as several lesser crimes.
In court documents, Kathy claimed that she didn't want anyone to be raped, but was actually just playing "childish pranks." That suggests she doesn't know what the words "childish" or "pranks" means.
The felony charges against Kathy were eventually dropped as part of a plea deal.
She had previously been named a local Mother of the Year in 2007 for taking care of her disabled daughter. No word yet on if she's nominated for 2014.
Cry-Baby #7: Pennsylvania State Police
The incident: A 14-year-old simulated oral sex on a statue of Jesus to take a funny photo.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: He was arrested.
Back in July, an unnamed 14-year-old boy in Everett, Pennsylvania, posed for several pictures with a statue of Jesus. In one of the photos, which you can see above, he pretended Jesus was giving him a blowjob.
He posted this photo, along with another photo of him standing on the statue with his arms in the air, on his Facebook page.
Somehow, somebody at the district attorney's office saw the photos on the teen's Facebook page and forwarded them to state police.
The state police then launched what they referred to as an "investigation" into the incident, and decided to move forward with arresting the boy.
He was charged under a 1927 law which makes it a crime to "desecrate a venerated object." While awaiting trial in a juvenile court, it was reported that the teen could face two years in jail if convicted.
A reporter from the Daily Mail contacted the church where the incident took place, and a spokesperson said they didn't want the boy arrested. "Our request was for prayer for the young man," the spokesperson said.
The boy was eventually sentenced to 350 hours of community service, probation, and a six-month ban from social media.
Cry-Baby #8: TW Jenkins
The incident: A church found out that a man they were scheduled to hold a funeral for was gay.
The appropriate response: Nothing.
The actual response: They canceled the funeral.
In August, 42-year-old Julion Evans died of a condition called amyloidosis. He was due to be buried at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida—a church that he and his family were members of.
The day before the funeral was scheduled to take place, someone from the church called Julion's mother to tell her that the funeral was canceled. She received the call during Julion's wake, while she was standing over his coffin.
According to KSDK, the church canceled after noticing in Julion's obituary that he had been married to a man.
TW Jenkins, pastor of New Hope, spoke with a reporter from the network and confirmed that they'd canceled the funeral because Julion was gay. "I try not to condemn anyone's lifestyle," he said. "But at the same time, I am a man of God and have to stand upon my principles." Which suggests TW try a little harder not to condemn lifestyles.
The pastor had also agreed to be interviewed on camera by KSDK, but refused to answer the door when a reporter went to speak to him. So maybe the real issue here is that he's just kinda flaky when it comes to making plans.
"Regardless of our background, our sexual orientation, how can you wait that long and put someone in a bind when they're going through a loss?" said Julion's widow, Kendall Capers.
Julion's funeral instead took place at a nearby funeral home. He and Kendall had recently gotten married in Maryland. They had been a couple for 17 years.
Cry-Baby #9: Fort Lauderdale
The incident: A 90-year-old man gave out free food to the homeless.
The appropriate response: Congratulating him.
The actual response: He was arrested. Twice.
Since 1991, 90-year-old Arnold Abbot has been feeding the homeless of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for free. He started doing this in memory of his wife Maureen, who died in an accident.
In early November, while he was giving out food, Arnold and two other volunteers were arrested and charged with " breaking an ordinance restricting public feeding of the homeless."
The ordinance blocking the feeding of the homeless was put in place the week before. The city had also recently passed a bunch of other laws aimed at shitting on homeless people. These include a law banning people from leaving their belongings unattended, tighter laws on public pissing, and a law to stop people from panhandling at medians.
Arnold announced that he intends to sue the city for his right to give out food to the needy. "I will fight them as long as there is breath in my body," he said.
The following week, he went back out to give food to the homeless. After serving up "a chicken and vegetable dish with broccoli sauce" and a "cubed ham and pasta dish with a beautiful white onion celery sauce," Arnold was once again accosted by cops, who again charged him with violating the ordinance outlawing the feeding of the homeless.
"One of the police officers said 'Drop that plate right now!' as if I was carrying a weapon," Arnold told ABC News.
"Thank God for Chef Arnold, I haven't eaten all day," said Eddie Hidalgo, a local homeless man who also spoke to the news channel. "He feeds a lot of people from the heart."
Arnold was given a 30-day reprieve earlier this month.
Cry-Baby #10: Chavonda Gallman
The incident: A woman found out her son had been watching porn.
The appropriate response: Pretending you didn't notice, silently leaving the room, then never, ever bringing it up again (ever).
The actual response: She called the cops.
One Tuesday in August, 40-year-old real estate broker Chavonda Gallman returned to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with her two-year-old daughter and one of her real estate clients.
When she went into the house, her 15-year-old son was upstairs in his bedroom.
According to a police report found by the Smoking Gun, Chavonda's daughter went into the living room and turned on the TV. When she did this, porn filled the screen.
"They immediately turned off the TV and took Mrs. Gallman's daughter out of the room," the report says. Chavonda then called the police to report that her daughter had been exposed to porn.
When officers arrived at the home, Chavonda told them that her son had been having behavioral issues, and that she hoped reporting the issue to the police would "help track her son's behavior."
The story was picked up by around 30 news outlets in August, which I'm sure Chavonda's son was THRILLED about.
Which of these clowns was 2014's biggest cry-baby? Let us know in this poll down here:
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