6/28/2007

Jackass of the Week Award - The City of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Bumbling Barney Fife wasn't allowed to put bullets in his gun when he patrolled the streets of Mayberry. It was a given that he was a hazard to public safety. This was a funny repeated theme in the tv series, with the Don Knotts character running around doing crazy slapstick.

But in real life, many police officers exhibit that they do not have the judgement to carry an loaded weapon in public. Now don't get me wrong. This is not a cop-bashing post. But it is a post to question where we draw the line. What should be done when an officer exhibits behavior that indicates he or she does not have the necessary judgement to wear a badge?

Incidents of excessive force occur everyday in the United States. And every once in a while, those incidents are captured on film for the world to see and judge. Just such a thing happened on June 21, the day now known as "Go Skateboarding Day." This day was created by skateboard advocates, and has been formally instituted by the U.S. Congress.

But in Hot Springs, Arkansas the day didn't go so well. A group of skaters was stopped by a local police officer, who put one of the young men to the ground and held him there by his throat. This image was captured on one of the skaters' cell phones, and two other kids quickly turned on their video cameras.

For those who haven't noticed, the video camera has been a ubiquitous tool in a skater's life since the devices were first available on the shelves of electronics stores. It's always good to have a record of yourself pulling an insane trick that you might not ever again duplicate, film your friends eating pavement as they try to outdo you, and maybe, just maybe, you might eventually get noticed and sponsored.

In this case, the students filmed a disgusting case of a local cop using bizarrely excessive force on this group of kids. The point of contention here seems to be that the officer was trying to stop, or even cite, the kids for skateboarding in a place that wasn't zoned for it. But it ended with police officer Joey Williams grabbing no fewer than three kids by their necks, some of them as young as 13.

The kids' videos were, of course, immediately posted to YouTube. It's not the Rodney King beating by any stretch, but take a look and judge for yourself if this should fall into either category of "excessive force" or "police brutality."





The first thing that struck me is the sheer size difference between this cop and the kids. The second, and the thing that has everyone up at arms, is his putting a 13-year old girl in a headlock, particularly when she looks like she weighs about 80 pounds. Officer Joey Williams has to be at least three times her weight.

AP articles say that the choke hold on the girl actually lifted her feet off the ground. That's obviously some really good police work in action. I also noticed that when Officer Joey Williams had the two kids in a headlock, there was another police officer standing next to him, who obviously didn't feel that the situation warranted his stepping in, as he stands to the side, looking like he doesn't want any part of this.

With nearly a million page views as of this writing, the YouTube video is getting a lot of air time. On the noticed and sponsored
Reason http://reason.com/blog/show/121095.html
blog, participants had some insightful comments from citizens across the United States and abroad. Some of my favorites:



"...you do blame the cop, for a wildly disproportionate response to the situation. He probably walked by three dozen violations of nitpicky city ordinances before he decided choking a 13-year-old was a good idea."

"So cops are allowed to choke minors who violate a city ordinance? No one in the video was "resisting arrest" -- that little girl surely wasn't. Just because someone may be violating a fucking ordinance doesn't give cops the right to rought them up. Also, isn't violation of a city ordinance usually punishable by fine, not arrest?"

"And nothing in the video indicates that the girl was under arrest when she decided to run....So he put a teenage girl in a headlock without cause.... I think that's over the line."

"I love the "resisting arrest" line thrown in there. As Americans is it not our right and duty to resist unlawful arrest?"


In response to the widespread attention that the video has gotten Mayor Mike Bush told the Associated Press that "Unfortunately, the video shows it pretty good....Bush called Williams "one of 100 best and finest we've got" in the city's police department."

Here's the only really funny part of this story, and one I haven't seen noted anywhere else. Consider Mayor Bush's statement, then read this statement taken verbatim from the Hot Springs website:



"The 99-officer Police Department provides basic police services in addition to various other special community programs such as Drug Awareness, Neighborhood Watch, Personal Safety, Housewatch, and Home/Business Security Analysis."


On the same website, there is a special section called the Mayor's Youth Council. Not surprisingly, no results were found for the search of "police choking."

Officer Joey Williams has been placed on administrative leave (which, if you ask me, is a euphemism for paid vacation) while higher powers investigate the incident. But what more can be said after watching the video? Why should this officer continue to have power, authority, and lethal weapons on the streets of America?

If the way this officer handled the situation is ultimately deemed appropriate, does that give me the right to make a citizen's arrest when someone mouths off? Because by Officer Jackboot McOverreact's standards, this would be disturbing the peace. Can I then throw that individual in a headlock, or push him to the ground and hold him by his neck in the name of persuing said citizen's arrest?

Of course, I'm a "civilian," which is police-speak for "the law applies to you and not me." I thought it would be interesting to see what other officers were saying about this incident, and when I came across some of their comments, my stomach turned.

It's unfortunate that these comments will likely reinforce many people's views that police are corrupt, uneducated, and abuse their powers ad infinitum. These comments are not meant to reflect the feelings or opinions of all police officers on the topic. But out of the hundreds of statements I read, I found exactly two officer comments that were flatly critical of Joey Williams:



"azcop2...Leaving a handcuffed suspect behind while you chase another one? Trying to take TWO kids into custody simultaneously (and looking like a fool in the process? Forget the punks, this cop is in serious need of officer safety re-trainig AND temper control."

"emore66...I dont know...Officer looked foolish...I think you have to pick your battles kids riding skateboards on sidewalk not sure it is worth it...I guess what town you work for dictates..."


Other officers did not give their whole-hearted support for Joey Williams, but their dissent fell largely into the "procedural" category:



"JP1...Even after watching a video that the kids "edited", my comment is that they deserved everything they got. Had this happened with one of my officers when I was Chief, I'd of had some serious talks with parents. (However, I would not have left a handcuffed kid on the sidewalk while I chased off another one. We would have found out who he was and got him later.)"

"lupd...looks like the punks needed more than what they got...that said there were some tactical errors on the officers part, but nothing that would be considered police brutality."

"cpd6a2...completely baited! Piece of crap kids need a major spanking. It was nothing but a big joke for them. Officer never should have left a handcuffed kid on the ground by himself to chase after another. Get help and then deal with the rest."

"DetSgt31...Write the kids' tickets for skateboarding, pull the parents in for raising such brats. The problem lies with the parents also, hold them directly responsible. Maybe a trip to the woodshed for Mom and Dad will get them thinking."

"orchevycop...Wow, skateboarding must be an arrestable offense there. Officer might be in the right, but he need some more training in verbal encounters."


Unfortunately, the vast majority of police officer comments read more like these. In considering the tone and intent of these comments, I think that cities and counties across the nation should begin to seriously consider regular and repeated psychological profiles of their officers.

I don't mean that in a humorous tone whatsoever. The reality is that if cops are thinking this way about their jobs and their concepts of what falls into that category is so incredibly broad-based and out of line, we really need some monitoring in place before we send these people out into the streets to utilize their so-called judgement, while heavily armed, in split-second scenarios.

Again, you may judge for yourself. (A sidenote: between the Mayor of Hot Springs and these officer comments, my overriding sense at this point is that it's a story fraught with poor grammar.)



"cross_rifles: Got to do what ya got to do!"

"OHDEP76...All they had to do was comply in an orderly manner and the situation would never have escalated. The officers may have been on the aggressive side, but within reasonable force for sure."

"88pdx...One easy word to learn: COMPLY!"

"pcpc601...hey turd, ya know what failure to comply is?!? if ya didn't, now you do..."


By far the worst comments, in my opinion, are the ones that advocate "ass kickings" to compensate for what they perceive as poor parenting:



"jcarnes718...I didn't see anything wrong on the Officers part. These teenagers think they can do whatever they want to whom ever. I think an ass whipping needs to be handed down to these punks."

"Bears:...When the parent fails the Police step in to do what is needed."

"Bodie: Nothin' Wrong Here...Nothing wrong here that I see. Kids gotta grow up and take an ass kickin' sometime if parents ain't doin' it it's up to the police. It's the parents tax dollars at work."


I have to say that I find these statements to be chilling. It's easy to chalk this kind of bravado up to officer banter, but the real concern is that these people really think that their job is not to protect and serve; not to keep the peace; not to enforce laws; they're saying that it is their job to kick someone's ass to catalyze certain behaviors.

In watching this video, it seems that Officer Joey Williams falls into this category. This outrageous abuse of power didn't stem from enforcing laws or getting dangerous thugs off the street. It was driven purely from Joey Williams' own ego. He didn't like that the kids questioned his authority and he was going to show them that he was da man.

Because this out of control police officer has not been fired, or heaven forbid, at least suspended without pay, the City of Hot Springs, Arkansas hereby wins the Jackass of the Week Award.

20 comments:

Robb said...

As a Father, I hope I teach my children to comply with officers of the law better than these kids did. If I was a parent, I would be ashamed. However, the Officer caused the "escalation" of the situation every bit as much as the kids did. All he had to do was ask the kids to move to an area where the skateboards were not restricted. If they failed to comply, he could have cited them to court where they would have been fined. From what I've read, it appears that when he first tried to stop the kids, the firest one he choked had said "Keep going". I can understand frustration at this, but we all get frustrated in our jobs and if I put my boss in a choke hold due to my frustrations, I would be facing major consequenses. All in all the kids went too far as the cop went to far and noone involved in this should be proud of the result.

Robb said...

Also it worries me that the mayor said, "Unfortunately, the video shows it pretty good".

Wouldn't you want the Video to show it good. If I had an officer get out of line I would think it FORTUNATE that it was well recorded, not unfortunate.

Cops are above the LAW! said...

An off-duty California cop avoids arrest after leading police on a high-speed car chase


In the early Nineties, we all witnessed the power of video when adrenaline-crazed-club-wielding cops beat Rodney King into the next century. This is the typical aftermath of most car chases and it’s known as curbside justice. Like the off-duty Vallejo, California cop in the below listed articles who evaded Sacramento authorities, Rodney King evaded police in a vehicle. The only difference between Rodney King and the off-duty cop was that one went to the hospital while the other was sent on his merry way with a friendly handshake.

Sure, cops have the discretion to issue warnings in traffic related matters as long as the offense isn't too serious. Verbal warnings are a natural part of a cop's daily patrol routine, but how many times have you heard of cops issuing a warning to someone who just finished leading them on a 100 mile per hour chase?

The reason the off-duty Vallejo cop was treated with kid gloves following the chase was based on professional courtesy, you know, that brotherhood nonsense in cop subculture where they take care of their own. If it were you or I in this same predicament we would have had problems urinating right about now.

One reason the off-duty Vallejo cop decided to run from Sacramento authorities was because he knew he could get away with it. If he couldn't outrun them, then once he got pulled over, he knew he could talk his way out of this mess by simply displaying his badge.

The off-duty Vallejo cop is nothing more than a product of his work environment because he was taught at an early age that flashing ones badge and asking for preferential treatment is a time-honored tradition.

For a moment, lets think about the gravity of a car chase. A car chase is a serious crime and it endangers the public as well as pursuing cops. It kills and disfigures. Once arrested, the suspect gets charged with assorted misdemeanors and felonies. Once convicted, the defendant gets a stiff fine, imprisonment in county jail, or both. Once the motor vehicle department finds out, driving privileges can be suspended or revoked.

The minute the off-duty Vallejo cop engaged Sacramento authorities in a chase and it became public knowledge, he violated the rules of his department, which clearly state he must conduct his private life in such a manner as to avoid bringing his department into disrepute and he must not seek the influence or intervention of any person outside his department for purposes of personal preferment and advantage.

What happened in Sacramento on March 17, 2002 was a public disgrace. All the players involved in this incident were “public servants.” How can our public servants ever expect to maintain public trust and confidence by behaving in this manner? It’s very clear, there are two sets of standards here; one set promotes favoritism under color of authority while the other guarantees a good beating and jail time.

Here are three news articles that document this troubling incident:

Title: Off-duty Vallejo policeman leads Sacramento police and sheriffs on high-speed chase

Source: www.sacbee.com

By R.E. Graswich, The Sacramento Bee, April 8, 2002

A mysterious Jaguar sedan whose driver wasn't cited after leading at least eight Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies and city police officers on a high-speed chase March 17 was driven by an off-duty Vallejo Police Department officer, Sacramento County Undersheriff John McGinness said Monday.

A professional video photographer, Tracy Mapes, filmed officers stopping the Jaguar near Blumenfeld Drive. When the Jaguar was allowed to leave without the driver being arrested or issued a ticket, Mapes gave portions of the video to The Bee.

The video stills show officers smiling and chatting with the driver and his passenger.

"It was an undercover car who first picked up the Jag, and she kind of pulled the alarm a little prematurely," McGinness said. "It was discretionary on the officers' part not to issue a citation. We give verbal warnings in about half of the traffic stops we make."

McGinness said he did not have the name or rank of the Vallejo officer. The Sheriff's department was conducting an internal affairs investigation to determine whether deputies acted properly in allowing the driver to leave with a verbal warning, McGinness said.

Police radio reports stated the Jaguar reached speeds of at least 90 mph during the chase from Watt Avenue to Arden Way on the Capital City Freeway. Four Sacramento Police officers left the scene without contacting the driver after being told by sheriff's deputies that the situation was under control.

City police officer David Topaz, who participated in the chase, said Monday that the Jaguar topped 100 mph. "I was amazed the guy wasn't arrested or at least cited," he said.

Topaz is president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association.

Title: Officer investigated in speeding allegation

Source: www.thereporter.com

By Reporter Staff, The Vacaville Reporter, April 11, 2002

Vallejo police officials have launched an investigation into reports that one of their officers led Sacramento authorities on a brief high-speed "chase" March 17, was stopped and then was let go.

The name of the officer has not been released.

"We have been in contact with the Sacramento Sheriff's Department," said Lt. JoAnn West with the Vallejo Police Department. "We don't have much information at this point. We are not releasing information about the officer. We will be conducting an internal investigation to see if he did anything wrong."

West said the type of punishment meted out - if the officer is found guilty of an offense - will depend on the circumstances regarding the offense.

"I will not speculate," she emphasized.

According to media reports, a Sacramento sheriff's official observed a Jaguar speeding at 90 mph down Capital City freeway. The officer initially had trouble catching up with the Jaguar and other deputies joined in to help, but did not give chase, sheriff's officials said.

Once stopped, the driver apparently identified himself as an off-duty Vallejo police officer and was not issued a citation.

Officials have said that officers are allowed to exercise discretion in issuing citations to the public, the media and other officers.

The Sheriff's Department is currently investigating the officer's action.

Title: Man on the run: Vallejo police investigate officer involved in high-speed chase

Source: www.timesheraldonline.com

By Dan Judge, Vallejo Times-Herald, April 11, 2002

The Vallejo Police Department is conducting an investigation into reports that one of its off-duty officers led Sacramento police on a high-speed chase and was subsequently released without being arrested or ticketed, Lt. JoAnn West said Wednesday.

Sacramento County Sheriff's Department officials said they also are investigating whether the officer who released him acted appropriately. They would offer few other details about the incident that took place on March 17, however.

"We're initiating our own parallel investigation into the incident but we need to get more information from the Sacramento Sheriff's office," West said. "We will be doing an internal affairs investigation to try and determine if our officer committed any violations."

West would not identify the officer, saying it was confidential because the issue was a personnel matter.

The Sacramento Bee reported this week that an unidentified Vallejo officer in a Jaguar sedan led eight sheriff's deputies and city police officers on a high-speed chase on the Capitol City Freeway that reached speeds in excess of 100 mph.

Professional video photographer Tracy Mapes filmed officers stopping the Jaguar and eventually gave stills from the tape to the Bee. The pictures reportedly show the officers smiling and talking with the driver and his passenger before releasing them without a citation.

Sacramento City Police Officer David Topaz said the incident was blown out of proportion by the news report, however.

He said the chase only involved one crime scene investigator in an unmarked police car who observed the Jaguar doing about 90 mph in a 55-mph zone of the freeway.
When the investigator turned on her lights to pull the Jaguar over, the driver accelerated to more than 100 mph before stopping a short time later.

Topaz said he was the first of several police to arrive at the scene after the Jaguar had already pulled off the freeway and stopped for the investigator.

"He told that officer he thought she was a security guard, which was kind of a lame excuse, but it was completely within her discretion to cite him or not cite him," Topaz said, adding that many motorists are let off with a verbal warning.

"He would not have been arrested because speeding is an infraction and we don't arrest people in the state of California for getting infractions," he said.

Topaz said he never saw the Vallejo police officer and left after seeing the situation was under control.

Sacramento County Sheriff's officials said the incident took place in the late evening hours when traffic was light.

They would not identify any of the officers or confirm the number of patrol cars involved in the incident.


Again, when was the last time you heard of cops releasing a subject after a high-speed chase? Was Rodney King released with a warning?

Wayne's Mom said...

What an unfortunate situation to have occured in such a hospitable town as Hot Springs, Ark., host to nearly 3 million visitors a year.

Tourists particularly enjoy our historic downtown district, stretched primarily along a 10-block section of Central Avenue. Sandwiched between two mountains, a row of eight bathhouses - named a Historic Landmark District - faces dozens of shops on the opposite side of the street. Hot Springs National Park, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, comprises the entire area.

To protect pedestrian safety, the City of Hot Springs passed an ordinance prohibiting bicycles, skateboards, rollerskates, rollerboards and any similar apparatus in these clearly marked areas. Tom Daniels, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, says despite strategically placed signs designating the no-wheels zones, skateboarding violations have been an ongoing problem.

Most of the time, local police just ask the skoarders to move on, and they do. This time, however, at least one of violators had already been asked to leave Exhange Street Parking Plaza before he joined the group of two adults (ages 21 and 19) and four juveniles (three 16-year olds and one 13-year old) on Central Avenue. According to newspaper interviews, several of the group knew they were violating the ordinance, but were prepared to lose their boards and possibly pay a fine. After they taped the event.

Did the arresting officer perform his job appropriately? We'll see. Should young teenagers be hanging out with 19- and 21-year old adults who have nothing better to do than skate through downtown during the summer? Probably not. Hello p-a-r-e-n-t-s? Does Hot Springs need another skating venue to add to the nine parks and Hot Springs Greenway where skating is already allowed? That's being discussed.

Thanks for helping us let the world know this video is neither a complete account of the skateboarding incident nor an accurate portrayal of Spa City, America's first resort.

Rebecca McCormick,
Travel Writer and Photographer

Ogg the Caveman said...

Did the arresting officer perform his job appropriately? We'll see.

No, we won't see. We already know. There's no justification for what that officer did. Period. If the officer was able to pick the girl up in a choke hold, then he could have gotten control of her in other ways that would've exposed her to less risk of injury or death and probably kept him safer at the same time.

What I saw in that video was rage. The cop wasn't getting the obedience he demanded, the situation got out of his control, and he lost it. He forgot both his training and his humanity. People who have that little self-control have no business wearing a badge or carrying a gun. If there is any justice this incident will end with the officer getting a felony conviction that will bar him from ever serving in law enforcement or touching a firearm again, and he'll serve the same time that a civilian would get for the same assault. I don't think that will happen though.

I've known plenty of good cops. I know they're out there. But as time goes on I hear more and more stories of police officers assaulting civilians. It may be that it always happened this often and we just hear more of it thanks to the internet, but I can't help think that our increasingly fear-driven culture is driving officers to think that they can -- no, must -- maintain control of those around them at all costs.

What really scares me are the people, like Rebecca McCormick and the commenters that Aspeth quoted, who seem willing to condone such levels of violence as an appropriate response to disobedience. At the risk of Godwining this thread already, that sort of authoritarian society has been tried already. It didn't work out too well.

I fear that we're slowly losing our rights because so many of us don't have the courage to want them. We're so afraid that we'll gladly give up our own freedom to keep our neighbors under control. We all know what's down that road, but we're going there anyway.

Sprezzatura said...

I think you're right, ogg. People are scared, and fear makes them do very, very stupid things.

I'm biased, though, because The Spouse's oldest and best friend is a police officer, and a more decent, honorable man never walked the earth. No lie. Ex-Marine, and he takes the code about duty and honor very seriously. So I tend to give policemen the benefit of the doubt.

Aspeth said...

Robb...You're right. A bunch of teenage kids mouthing off? Sure. And if anyone thinks I'm protecting them, read the post I called "Generation lay-Zee"

Cops...LINKS, dude, not the whole article.

Aspeth said...

Ogg...

applause

Very, very well said. Everyone, please go back and re-read Ogg's comment, particularly the 2nd paragraph. He nailed it on the head.

Sprezzie...Like I said in the beginning, this is by no means a blanket condemnation of police. Our blind obedience to our gov't has a lot of people turning their heads when things like this happen. And the point of this is to point out, as Ogg so eloquently stated, "People who have that little self-control have no business wearing a badge or carrying a gun."

The other officers' comments, from across America, prove that this officer is not alone in thinking this kind of conduct is acceptable. The real question is, do we as a people find this acceptable? Are we willing to draw the line? Where?

For me, I see the line crossed in lifting a 13-year old girl off the ground by her neck. I think most police officers in America would NOT do this. But Officer Joey Williams did, applying a swift and mighty street justice to a little girl. Unfortunately, the City of Hot Springs is in a holding pattern, choosing to not do the same to him.

Akubi said...

Aspeth,
This is not the Bollywood post everyone (96% of my astute readers) has been eagerly awaiting. I think I might just boycott this blog until you reveal the Bollywood film details;).

Sprezzatura said...

For me, I see the line crossed in lifting a 13-year old girl off the ground by her neck. I think most police officers in America would NOT do this

Agreed 100%.

Schnapps said...

Again, bang on, Aspeth, bang on.

Aspeth said...

Ah, cheers, Schnapps.

Akubi, I owe you a blog post. Left you a message on your pages.

The Dude said...

I'd venture to say the whole thing was a setup to provoke an incident. Skateboarders are notorious for just such behavior. I dealt with them for years, and on many occasions, WISHED the cops would have taken down a few. For the most part they are a PITA, their behavior is "in your face", and they completely ignore the safety of others.

T said...

Dude,

I'm gonna ignore that ^ post cause I heart you. But LOL @ "they completely ignore the safety of others". They're skateboarding! They're not out their endangering communities.

My younger son and his friends are skateboarders. None of them do drugs, they don't skip school, and they all get good grades. They're just kids doing tricks on a board with wheels. It's a hobby for them. They're not "evildoers", ffs.

Teenagers have been rebelling against authority for generations. Big friggen deal. It is NEVER ok for an adult to physically assault a kid.

I live in So Cal where police are notoriously out of control.

Check this shit out.

And then the bastard was acquitted!!!

It's fucking bullshit and it's absolutely unacceptable. That guy is a fucking Iraq war veteran. He is heard clearly stating he means the cops no harm. And this trigger-happy cop goes free?!?!

Seriously, WTF? Why is this ok? Why do some people automatically assume the cops always do the right thing? They're human after all. They make mistakes.

It happens all the time out here. And It's not ok.

T said...

their = there.

The Dude said...

T,

I've had a lot of experience dealing with skateboarders......mostly bad. You put signs up....they ignore
You talk with them....they ignore
They feel they have a "right" to do what they want, where they want, when they want, and ignore anything to the contrary. Now, are all "criminals"?....of course not. But they CAN be a threat to public safety and it's best to take action before someone really gets hurt.

Ever see what a 3 yr old looks like after being run over by "just sweet kids" on a board doing 15mph? I have.....

I'd rather have those sweet babies whine about excessive force when they get a booboo by the bad policeman than clean up a child's blood.

T said...

Where the hell do you live that skateboarders roam the street targeting 3 year olds?

T said...

I guess what I mean to ask is, don't you have skateboard parks where you live? Most kids in So Cal skate in actual skate parks.

My son and his friends would not think it's funny to knock over a little kid... you must have some cold-hearted skateboarders in your neck of the woods.

The Dude said...

T,

Remember, I owned several McD's restaurants. We draw all kinds, from punks to Moms w/kids. Skateboarders love to ignore all "No Skateboarding" signs whether it be on private or public property.

A Mom and her daughter walked out the door when a skateboarder came barreling down the sidewalk and clobbered the daughter....cuts, bruises, and a broken arm.

There are no skateboarding parks in the area where I lived so they board wherever and whenever they want....regardless of the consequences. Similar to what's on the video. Maybe I've got an attitude towards them....but it's well earned on their part. If they want to faceplant in park, go for it. For my two cents, the boarders got just what they deserved.......

jmr-florida said...

I think that if you want credibility in the cause to rehabilitate skateboarding, you should probably start with the statement that "Go Skateboarding Day" was created by the US Congress. It was in fact created by the "International Association of Skateboard Companies" as a marketing gimmick. In the article linked as the 'citation' of the creation of the 'national' holiday, it offers no citation of the resolution establishing such a holiday, and the only link it makes to Congress is the statement of the representative from the surrounding areas. Furthermore, a search of the Congressional Record does not indicate that such a holiday has ever been discussed in the US Congress.

Now what the cop did may have been reprehensible, but when you have the court of public opinion already on your side in an issue, why tarnish your case with inacurate information.