Thursday, December 17, 2009
Buz read with interest all the hullabaloo about the community activist and leader in Union Square who got arrested, then unarrested, then got cited in a beef with one of the Southern District boys in blue. Basically, he calls the police, they come, then the stories diverge. Ultimately, he's told to go in his house or get locked up. Now, he being a good law-abiding citizen and all, knows that he doesn't have to, especially if he's not doing anything wrong, and he's standing on his own porch.
Well, the officer would see about that!
Now, look, we weren't there, and all we know is what we read, but usually there's two sides to a story; sorry, officer, that's the best i can do here. As far as the gentleman/landlord/community supporter of the police goes, Buz detects a whiff of "don't you know who I am".
Well, here's my little story--summed up sorta twitter style:
Buz sees a police car with its lights flashing a couple blocks away from his house.
Another police car comes rolling up, lights also flashing, blocks intersection.
Nosey ole Buz goes up to see what going on.
2nd officer has three tough-looking guys sitting on the curb, while 1st officer has 4th tough-looking guy giving some info while he's in his car.
Buz asks elderly black lady in another car if she's ok; she says the other car hit her, but she's ok, just thirsty.
I ask if she wants me to get some water for her; she says no, her friend's on the way.
2nd officer, tough, fit young guy comes over: "do you live around here, sir"?
Yes, says me.
Are you involved with this accident?
No, says me.
Well, says officer, I need you to leave the area. This is an accident investigation!
Now, Buz could have left the old lady, stood up way on the sidewalk out of the way, and said: I'm not interfering, I have every right to stand on this public street and watch!
Did we do that?!
There's little doubt in Buz's pea brain that this officer would have ignored all the tough guys, and arrested Buz, who was wearing a nice polo shirt (tucked in his nice khaki pants), sporting no tattoos, and not wearing any baseball caps--sideways or otherwise. He may even have enjoyed using the Tazer and rubbing it in at Central Booking.
Moral of story: ya can't fight city hall in the person of the cop on the beat, whether he's right or not--unless...............well, unless you want to end up like Mr. Taylor of Union Square.
Or, to paraphrase Peter Moskos, the Bmore cop turned Ph.D., you don't have to respect him, or agree with him, but you must obey him.
So, Buz, who spent nearly 30 years in the Baltimore Police Department, gets dispersed. Yeah, his arrest might have been dropped and illegal, but who wants to visit Central Booking, the 7th outer circle of hell?
So, the district commander, and the department was placed in an awkward position by this aggressive officer. They cannot openly criticize him, because the "arrestee" may sue. But betcha (4-1), this officer doesn't get a gravy special unit job anytime soon. And, yeah, we're amazed at how aggressive the Baltimore Police are after having gone to that fancy, schmancy, Adam Walinsky training this year, and we're hoping that same aggressiveness is keeping the crime down this year. But maybe a nuance or two, guys?