Monday, April 12, 2021

Police blotter

 I was looking around for a story to start the week off smartly and Florida did not let me down.  This one has everything.  In Boca Raton, Nastasia Snape struck and killed a 75-year-old judge from New York, Sandra Feuerstein, when she swerved onto a sidewalk.  Snape then fled the scene and, when arrested, began screaming that she was Harry Potter.  (Not Severus Snape?)  The synthetic drug known as bath salts (monkey dust in the UK, which is charming) was found in her purse.  A boy was also injured.  Judge Feuerstein had been hearing the case of former NYPD officer Valerie Cincinelli, accused of paying her lover to kill her husband.  So hit-and-run, Harry Potter, drugs, dead judge, murder for hire, and all in Trump's backyard.  It's like the first chapter of a Carl Hiaasen novel.

Nastasia Snape was arrested after crashing her car in Delray Beach.  Despite the trail of mayhem she left, and despite being Black, she was arrested without incident.  Daunte Wright was not so fortunate.  Police in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, pulled him over for a traffic violation last night and discovered an outstanding warrant.  Wright got back into his car and allegedly tried to drive off, whereupon he was shot and killed by an officer who says she meant to fire her taser but mistakenly fired her gun.  Wright was 20 and was on the phone with his mother when he died.  Brooklyn Center is a largely Black community ten miles from Minneapolis.

Daunte Wright had had his car for two weeks.  Caron Nazario, another new car owner, was driving home last December through Windsor, Virginia, which sounds more like a "sundown" community.  Two officers pulled him over for not having a rear license plate; in fact his temporary plate was taped to the rear window.  They ordered Lieutenant Nazario, wearing his US Army uniform, to get out, which he was understandably reluctant to do.  When he did emerge, hands in the air, they pepper-sprayed and handcuffed him and said he was "fixin' to ride the lightning," a reference to either the electric chair or tasing.  They threatened him with retaliation if he didn't "chill and let this go."  He didn't; he's suing the police, one of whom, Joe Gutierrez, has been fired.  

Retired NYPD officer Thomas Webster is unhappy.  He's locked up with common criminals after being arrested for his role in the January 6 coup attempt.  He was determined to be "a danger to the community" despite his "sparkling record" as a police officer.  There is damning video of Webster beating a Metro police officer with a metal flagpole and jamming his fingers into the man's eyes, but Webster claims he was merely answering the call of his president.  What would he say if a cop had tried to blind him while he was "on the job"?  Much less a civilian.

Yesterday's "White Lives Matter" demonstrations were sparsely attended and generally hilarious; I especially like the one in Albuquerque, where police had to protect the sole Trumpite from a crowd of counter-protesters.  Charlottesville seems like a long time ago.

Maryland became the first state to repeal its Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and establish new rules for the use of force, overriding the veto of Republican Governor Hogan.  Last week New Mexico abolished "qualified immunity" for all state employees, including police.  Also last week, Minneapolis police brass broke with precedent to denounce Derek Chauvin's actions in the death of George Floyd.  Slowly the blue wall is cracking.  Imagine police being limited to the same Bill of Rights the rest of us have.  It might make the job less attractive to racist sociopaths.  One can hope.



Post a Comment

<< Home