Gut Rumbles

December 09, 2005

within the law?

If I had a penny for every time I've heard someone excuse absolutely brain-dead behavior by some drooling dingbat as acting "within the law," I'd have enough money to buy a MARTA subway token.

Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said Friday that the officer "acted within the law" after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station

Instead of giving Pirone a warning, the officer decided to handcuff him and give him the misdemeanor citation under a 1992 state law that bars passengers from selling Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority tokens, she said.

Why does an image of Barney Fife pop into my head?

Baker acknowledged that Pirone sold the token at face value and did not make a profit. But the law is the law, she said.

"There are customer service phones for people who are having trouble getting tokens out of the machine," Baker said. "The fact is, our officer acted within the law."

I think the officer should be promoted to a supervisory position for displaying such bold initiative and clear judgment. Gotta act fast and nip this kinda crime in the bud. ("Nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud!")

Perhaps the officer should be offered a job as a public school principal for demonstrating such an instinctive grasp of Zero Tolerance policy. Besides--- being a complete horse's ass is no crime.

It's within the law.


oh for fuck's sake.

If he had given the other person the token, would that have been a crime, too?

Christ on a crutch.

Posted by: caltechgirl on December 9, 2005 03:28 PM

He'll never be convicted in court. Zero tolerance is the dumbest method of legal interpretation ever contrived. Law enforced to the letter with no room for interpretation of the intent of said law is not only a poor deterrent for those who would purposely break that law but it victimizes those who may step over some line but have no intent to do so. Intent has always been an important factor in deciding guilt and innocence. (Hypothetical- Someone kidnaps your son and says you'll help them rob a store or they'll kill him. You do so. The law will hold you harmless and rightfully so because you acted out of duress. Zero tolerance would land you in prison.)

Posted by: Donger on December 9, 2005 04:06 PM

The problem with cops today is that they are given too much BOOK learning with NO emphasis on COMMON SENSE.....

Which reminds me of that classic scene in The Untouchables when Sean Connery and Kevin Costner go the police academy to get a recruit....

Sean Connery asks the cop in charge to bring him the two guys that are the BEST SHOTS....

Out steps some goofy looking guy and Andy Garcia....

Connery asks the first guy "Why do you want to join the force?"

The guy starts stuttering and reciting this jibberish about protecting and serving....Sean dismisses him and turns to Costner (rolls his eyes) and says "there goes the next Chief of Police"....

He then asks Andy Garcia the same question and when Andy starts with the same crap, Sean Connery tells him not to waste his time with that BULLSHIT.

Then he baits Garcia by asking him where he's from and what was his name before he changed it.....then goes a step further and says he's a thievin' wop and a lying member of a no good race....

And when Garcia pulls his gun on him and says, "Much better than you, you stinkin' Irish pig", Sean Connery smiles and says to Costner, "Oh I like him"....To which Costner says, "Yeah, I do too"

Point is, TOO many cops today are like the first recruit, ALL BOOK learning, no balls, and no common sense. (But many of them do go on to become chiefs of police) And more than one (of those chiefs) are the VERY same type that would arrest and handcuff someone for selling a $1.75 subway token.....

The thing that I always wonder is how do these guys go home and tell their wives (assuming they have one) that they had this big pinch today, how they hauled someone in for selling a $1.75 subway token...(you would think they would be embarassed)

As I said, too much book learning, ZERO common sense.

Posted by: Ruth on December 9, 2005 04:38 PM

Of course we are forgetting that maybe it was left out that the Police officer kindly approached the man and informed him of the law forbidding such behavior and requested that he refrain from doing it in the future. At which time the man became mouthy and obnoxious calling the protector of the dark underworld that is MARTA a fat assed jelly donut hoardin' boy scout and to shove that stupid law right up his (perhaps not exit only) kiester after which of course the cop split his scalp with his baton, electrocuted him with his taser, sprayed him with 10% pepper spray and arrested him for pissin' off the police. Nah, your probably right. Cop was a prick.

Posted by: Donger on December 9, 2005 05:05 PM

My guess...Fresh out of the Academy. OTOH, who was the freakin' genius that decided it should be against the law in the first place?


Posted by: Violence Worker on December 9, 2005 05:52 PM

People would buy out the machines and sell the tokens at a premium price.

Posted by: Yogimus on December 10, 2005 05:14 AM

Helping a fellow passenger is a crime? And HANDCUFFS?! C'mon The cop in this case should be fired for being absolutely stupid. He arrested this guy for selling a $1.75 token for....a $1.75! Its cops like this who ruin whatever respect people have for law enforcement. You think this guy (who was arrested) is ever going to help the police in the future? I mean, say in the case of some investigation or something? I seriously doubt it.

Posted by: Ruth on December 10, 2005 08:24 AM

Sigh.... yeah, this is what it comes down to: The anal retentive officer (ARO) is a "LAW ENFORCEMENT Officer" versus us old "Peace Officer types". They are mostly young, filled full of "Us vs. them" bullshit, and by virtue of their employment, able to display (without undue hindrance) an attitude problem where "civilians" are concerned.

The definition of "civilian" by the way, is someone who is not a cop, and has yet to be arrested. Note that distinction. Also note that those who have been arrested are known by other more colorful apellations, than "civilian or citizen".

Of course, pinning on the badge does not make someone NOT a civilian, nor does it confer some sort of superior social status. The truth of the matter is that the ARO's are simply in the wrong job. They should be accountants or collectors for the IRS. However, they will remain in the job as long as they don't run into someone in authority who actually has a true concept of what a citizen's Constitutional rights are - free to live life without interferance - UNLESS a peace breaking act is committed and observed. Which by the way, was NOT the case in this incident.

Regardless, that particular ARO is someone who will prosper in today's law enforcement community... as long as they work for the type of supervisor who is (also) committed to proving how "effective" they all are; or whose chief is a proud member of a "revenue generating" department for the mayor and city council. In both cases, God help the "civilians" who run afoul of the "LAW."

Hmmm....Just seems to happen with greater frequency, to more people, every day doesn't it?

Posted by: Ol' Thunder on December 10, 2005 12:30 PM
Post a comment

*Note: If you are commenting on an older entry, your
comment will not appear until it has been approved.
Do not resubmit it.