A lot of divided opinion on last month’s “felony dumping.” I post some of that feedback here for what it says about the specific issues, but also as a reminder of how differently people can react to the same story.

Basically, two of my employees were arrested for dumping garbage we had collected from around the neighborhood, as we’d been doing every Monday for two years. It was something we’d worked out informally with the local “Neighborhood Enhancement Team.” We thought we were being good citizens, cleaning up the neighborhood. The officer thought he was apprehending some people committing a crime and used his discretion not just to issue a ticket, as he could have, but to handcuff them and take them to jail. For this, he got some criticism later from people in his department, which made him angry. A few days later, he spotted one of the two guys driving the same truck — which he absolutely should not have been doing, because he had not purchased the insurance needed to regain his suspended driver’s license. The officer pulled him over on the pretext of a cracked windshield and arrested both him and his boss, Sal. Again, he used his discretion not just to issue a ticket, as he could have, but to handcuff them and take them both to jail — the driver, for driving with a suspended license; Sal, for allowing him to (although Sal denies authorizing this).

Sal was advised by people who know the Miami police that he had basically two options: apologize to the officer and assume a very passive role in any future encounters or else move to another city.

Of course, you’re welcome to click on the hyperlink above to read the fuller story, but that’s the essence of it — from our point of view. Obviously, the arresting officer (AO, as I called him), has a different perspective. In that sense, without giving him his say, this exercise is not fair. Still, here’s some of your feedback:

There is a third choice. The third choice is to sue the city and the cop for harassment, entrapment, and federal violation of Sal’s civil rights. The cop cannot target a citizen and do what amounts to an unauthorized stakeout in order to get even, even if he does ‘find’ a violation of the law. There might be an equal protection issue as well if it can be proven that the cop does not normally make it a practice to arrest this type of violator, but did so for an improper reason (i.e. – personal vengeance).

I’m a lawyer who was arrested during my divorce by a cop who knew my wife, and I’ve sued the county for false arrest and false imprisonment, as well as civil rights violations, in Federal Court. I think cops get away with far too much in our society. Good luck.

— R.E.

Your article about your employees and their problems, especially about driving without a valid license, in my opinion, does not belong here on Ameritrade’s home page. The law says you don’t drive without a valid license — that’s all there is to it. It appears your employee has little respect for the law and society. A previous DUI, driving without a valid license. Yes, DUI is a serious offense — you lose your license and you don’t drive again under no [sic] circumstances until you get it back. So what are you trying to accomplish by blasting the AO? I come here for stock trading and maybe some professional insight into the market place, not to read about your personal problem with an AO for doing what he should be doing.

— J.L.

I was a police officer for 15 years in a city close to Denver. I now work for the Denver Police Dept as a civilian. This officer you write about is the type that gives all police officers the bad name. Do not submit to him, do not apologize, as this will validate his actions. He does not deserve to wear the badge. Very little difference between him and the thugs on the street. You know you can make a complaint to Internal Affairs, or failing that, sue for harassment. This also sounds like something the local media may take up. Hope the best for your people in this situation. My email is ———-. Give this to the cop also if he wants to swap words back and forth.

— C.B.

Of course your friend should know better about driving with a suspended license and I suspect that the occasion on which he was caught wasn’t the only time he’s done so since his license was suspended, no? He needs to behave himself. He’s not above the law. Nevertheless, “Officer Holiday” isn’t above the law either and in Florida there’s the Public Records Act and information on this police officer, as is the case with all arresting officers, is a matter of public record and I think his name should have been published in your article, for all to know, and for him/her and all such “Public Servants” who think they are something special, to know that their actions don’t go unnoticed and I’ll bet that more of such “public recognition” will help keep the likes of such as “Officer Holiday” from taking it out on the public they are supposed to be servicing.

— J.T.H.

Unfortunately it seems to have happened to you; the worst curse of all. The curse of believing your own press clippings. No doubt you thought that your recent article about the incident involving your employees and the police department would show support for your employee and present an opportunity to tell everyone what a blessing you and your company are to the public. Well, I’ve got news for you; it didn’t come across that way. What the article says is that laws don’t matter if they happen to involve your objectives, and worse, that you have forgotten the thought that “virtue is its own reward.” With a lowered opinion of you, Sincerely . . .

— L.J.L.

Why in the world would Sal submit to these dictatorial actions by this cop if what you have related is true. This juvenile delinquent police officer should be reported to his internal affairs officers, the mayor, the town council and whatever authorities exist. My son is a police officer and I am all too familiar with this type of treatment for bad guys. I have had to inform him from time to time that you do not do in the good guys who are out there supporting police officers. Do not let this little dictator get away with his attitude. Go to his superiors and report his behavior. Harassment is not a normal way of life and he will continue his actions until Sal moves to stop him.

— C.M.

I will agree with you that the officer may not have acted in the best public relations by arresting your people. However, as a police officer I know that any volunteer agency, even under contract with our department, has no authority to give permission to anyone to violate any law or ordinance, no matter how small. In our community the proper procedure would have been to go to the Town Council, Mayor, etc and get a variance (permission to do this). Kind of like a building permit. I would have towed the vehicle as being illegal. Two equipment violations [the cracked windshield and the piece of tape on the brake light]. As far as your driver being suspended and driving: If he knew he was suspended, never mind the excuses or how far he drove. The only thing to do is DO NOT DRIVE. This was only good police work. If I have someone I think is committing a criminal act, I am not doing my job if I do not observe for this and take action. Everything else in your article is just a smoke screen. Since you seem to support criminal activity, I will not be doing business with you in the future.

–D.A.Y.

Well. That settles that.

 

 

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