Attention, Mundanes: Don’t ‘Disrespect’ Your Armed Overseers

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If police are our servants — rather than our armed overseers — why do they feel entitled to punish us for showing them “disrespect”?

Drupatty Jaipersaud, who operates a Chevron station in Lawrenceville, Georgia, found herself in a real mess when the gas pumps ran dry during a sudden fuel shortage in September 2008. An aggravated customer apparently thought that the store owner (a woman of east Indian descent who was born in Guyana) didn’t want to sell him gas on account of his ethnic background. When told that the station had no gasoline, the customer — who verbally abused the store owner — refused to leave.

Jaipersaud made the common — and by now inexcusable — mistake of calling the police, expecting that they would help. Predictably, matters immediately got much worse when five officers arrived to deal with the minor dispute. Among them was Detective Tim Ashley, who enjoys perfect job security despite numerous suspensions for misconduct (including a threatening phone call to his ex-wife’s boyfriend, and refusing to respond to a homicide call while on duty).

The customer claimed that Jaipersaud had struck him. She insisted that the store’s security video would demonstrate that she had done no such thing — but she didn’t know how to access it. Ashley demanded that she call her son, who was at school.

“He said I need to get him here now or else,” Jaipersaud recalled. “I asked him if he was threatening me…. And he said, `No, I’m arresting you.’” The officer later explained that he arrested Jaipersaud for being “disrespectful.” She spent ten hours in jail for what was later determined to be a wrongful arrest. A jury awarded Jaipersaud nearly $140,000 in damages. That amount will be paid by the city government’s tax victims, of course — who are probably going to be shaken down again to settle another lawsuit filed against Ashley by 29-year-old Mississippi resident Carlos Fairley.

Last November, Fairley — who was earning an honest living as a cook — tried to obtain a more lucrative position in the plunder-based sector by applying for a position with the Transportation Security Administration. A background check by the agency found that Fairley had outstanding arrest warrants in Lawrenceville for two counts of armed robbery.

At this point the alert reader will probably ask two questions:

“Wait — the TSA actually does background checks on applicants? And an accusation of armed robbery would be considered a disqualification, rather than an endorsement, for someone seeking to join the TSA’s corps of molesters and petty thieves?”

In any case, Fairley was told he had to clear up the warrants before being considered for employment with the TSA. When he called the Lawrenceville PD to inform them that he had not so much as visited Georgia for nine years, “Ashley `loudly and rudely’ said he knew Fairley committed the crime and hung up on him,” recounts the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The warrants were issued on the basis of a photo lineup that included a picture of Fairley when he was booked after being arrested as a teenager roughly a decade ago for “joyriding” in a stolen vehicle.

A few weeks after he contacted Detective Ashley, Fairley was jailed in Mississippi and extradited to Georgia, where he was imprisoned for three months. In March, he was released after the victims — who were shown a current photo — said that Fairley clearly wasn’t the man who had robbed them. During the three months he spent in the Gwinnett County Jail, Fairley lost his job.

Not surprisingly, Fairley has filed a lawsuit against Ashley and the department that employs him. That lawsuit — and the needless abuse of Orlando Fairley — could have been avoided if Ashley would have invested a minimal effort in trying to identify a legitimate suspect, rather than pursuing what appears to be a mission to punish Fairley for impudently asserting his innocence.

In Richmond, Virginia, 29-year-old Susan Mortensen has been sentenced to 50 hours of state-imposed servitude in order for a judge to dismiss what amounts to a charge of vandalism-by-proxy. During a visit to Belle Isle last March, Mortensen allowed her daughter to make chalk drawings on rocks. When Police Officer Stacy Rogers upbraided Mortensen for this trivial (and temporary) defacement, Mortensen — properly annoyed by the unwanted and undeserved harassment from an armed stranger — “responded with an attitude and curse words,” reports Richmond’s ABC affiliate.

Accordingly, Mortensen — who has a daughter to raise, and household expenses to deal with — will be forced to paint 200 boundary posts surrounding a bridge on her own time. The vandalism charge here is a transparent pretext; the real intention is to teach an uppity tax slave that it’s unacceptable to display an “attitude” when reprimanded by an overseer.

9:09 am on August 3, 2012