TalkAboutBush.com - Let's document W. Bush's Record
31 Jul 2004 02:49 GMT
I have created a website whose purpose is to allow concerned Americans to post what they know about George W., in hopes of creating a clear picture of who and what he is. Also, I would like to tell you about my recent run in with the police in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Come to this new community website and share your opinions and knowledge of George W. Bush. TalkAboutBush is a community system where people who want to express themselves can share their opinions of and information they have about George W. Bush, his reign as president and his record of constitutional deconstruction, fear mongering and lying.
Here is my story of how the Chattanooga Police department deals with citizens who try to watch them at their work... This letter was mailed to a PIO, or Police Information Officer and published at http://www.chattanoogan.com
I had a little run in with the police today. I sent a letter to the police information officer about it and thought I would share it with you:
My name is F. Manley. You might remember me from my involvement a few years ago with the homeless in Miller Plaza. We had quite a few conversations over email.
I had an incident today which was extremely disheartening and disturbing. It involved the Chattanooga City police department and I would like to share it with you.
I was out walking my dogs at about 4:40 p.m. on July 22nd, with a friend, Dr. L of Chattanooga. As we neared the Mr. Zip on Frazier avenue, I heard cursing. I looked over and observed four police officers surrounding a young man. He appeared to be between 17-20 years of age. He was not fighting, he was speaking in a low voice and his hands were either handcuffed or at his side. I heard one of the officers call him a "mother fucker" then approach to within six inches of him, and put his face very near the young mans face in a schoolyard fight type of posture.
When I heard the police officer curse the young man, I decided to stop and act as a witness. I was either on public or private property and had not said anything to the police, or interfered with their process in any way. As soon as one of the officers observed that I was watching them he ordered me to go inside the store. I was standing 25-30 feet from them, and was in no position to interfere with their arrest so I refused.
The policeman then approached me and asked again for me to leave, and I again said no. Then another officer joined him. I don't know her name, but she approached me in a very aggresive manner, immediately began threatening me and demanded that I stop watching them. I again said no. I told them that I hadn't violated any laws, that I wasn't doing anything wrong and that they had no right to ask me to leave, since I was standing so far away. The woman told me that I could either leave, or she was going to throw me in jail. I told her again that I wasn't leaving, that I had heard them calling the suspect a "motherfucker" that I thought it was wrong and that they had no right to ask me to leave. The male officer then informed me that they had the right to ask me to leave because they didn't know me and that I could be considered a "Threat" even though I was standing so far away. She angrily stuck a bag of marijuana under my nose and said something to the effect of "this gives me the right." I said to her that it didn't matter if he had broken the law, the abusive cursing I heard them directing at the boy wasn't justified by it.
Maybe I am an idealist, but I believe that their behavior both toward myself and the suspect was juvenile, counterproductive, abusive and totally unnecessary. I can understand their wanting to intimidate him to some degree to get him to cooperate, but I don't think what I heard was exemplary of the way that police should act, toward anyone, ever. I have met and talked with a lot of police officers. I have learned from observing the good ones that it is possible for police to confront any situation with wisdom and good judgement. I believe this applies even more so in this situation where the suspect wasn't resisting in any way, or even raising his voice.
The language I overheard wasn't the most disturbing thing about this incident. What disturbed me the most was that they twisted the rules to protect themselves from being held accountable to the public, namely me. They told me that they felt I was a "threat" and that I couldn't watch their actions because I was somehow, by watching from a distance, interfering with the process of their arrest. It seems, in my opinion, that too often, police turn the "thin blue line" into the "thin grey line." They fudge the rules so that they can protect themselves from having to be held accountable to the people who pay their salaries.
I am not anti police. I was raised by a police officer. My uncle is a police officer, and so is my brother. I have been performing volunteer rescue services here in Chattanooga for three years. Essentially, I feel that these officers impinged upon my rights by invading my privacy and freedom as described under the fourth amendment, and that their reason for doing so was predicated on a lie. That lie being that they perceived me as some kind of threat...
1) Approached me when I had made no overture toward them, had spoken no words to them, or approached them and when I was standing at a distance which could not be interpreted as threatening. A distance from which I couldn't hear what they were saying.
2) They denied me my right to free assembly, and liberty of person as described in the fourth amendment, by threatening to take away my liberty (arrest me) when I had done nothing wrong.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The female officer convinced me I would be arrested if I didn't leave (she told me that three times). She had her hand on her handcuffs. Dr. L, believed I was going to be arrested.
I know that the police are only human. I have heard all of the excuses. I have made a few of them myself. The officer who threatened me was an extremely poor representative of the Chattanooga police department. She exercised poor judgement and poor public relations skills. She evinced a complete lack of care for me and the fact that I, as a property owner, business owner, a taxpayer and a citizen, care how she does her job. She made an uncomfortable situation into a dramatic and abusive one.
I don't care how you slice it, in a town with this many churches, four police officers threatening and cursing a passive 140-pound kid in broad daylight is bad business and not very smart. The kid was selling pot, I am sure, but seeing (and hearing) our police degenerate into a mob of cursing, threatening bullies on a sunlit street makes what he was doing seem trivial. In my opinion, their dishonesty and abusive behavior was worse than what the kid did. The boy they arrested was a kid doing something stupid, they were adults. They are sworn peace officers, adult men and a woman who voluntarily took an oath to uphold the law. They broke that oath when they lied to rid themselves of my presence and when they acted in such a reprehensible fashion to their suspect.
Basically, the questions I would like you to answer are these....
1) How did I interfere with their arrest?
2) Why did they approach me (when I had not approached them, spoken to them, or made any gestures toward them) and threaten me?
I believe I already know the answers to these questions, but I would still like to hear your response.
My beliefs are as follows...
1) I didn't do anything wrong. Not one word. Not one gesture. I was never close enough to be a threat. I was at least 25 feet distant.
2) They threatended to deprive me of my liberty and right to free assembly because they didn't want witnesses observing their abusive behavior. They denied me my right as a citizen, to oversee HOW they do their job in a public venue because they knew that I had heard them calling this kid a "--- ---."
The woman who threatened me, had red hair. Maybe 30s.
You seemed very fair minded when last we spoke and I was very impressed with your seeming compassion and desire for law enforcement to be humane. What happened today, is to me, just one small example of why so many people hate police. I've got to tell you, if it's illegal for a citizen like me to watch the police do their job, on a busy public street, from a fair distance, it really makes me scared for our country and our society.
I see people blur the lines every day, cheating, lying, stealing, fudging the numbers. It's sad and it's depressing when it happens in the business world, when it happens in law enforcement, it just makes me sick.
From Chattanooga, where it's illegal to stand still and do nothing.
Creator of TalkAboutBush.com / A forum for documenting his record and discussing his expulsion from our highest office.