Cuffed and Stuffed for Asking ‘Why?’

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Minnie Carey, a 61-year-old Atlanta resident, was peaceably assembled with three of her friends on a sidewalk outside a convenience store, discussing funeral plans for a friend, when two heroic guardians of public order pulled up next to them.

“Move it,” grunted Officer Brandy Dolson of the Atlanta Police Department. Despite the fact that Carey and her friends were not blocking the sidewalk or otherwise causing problems for anybody, three of them complied with Dolson’s imperious demand.

Carey herself, however, asked why they were being ordered to vacate a public sidewalk.

“Because I said so,” Dolson declared, as if that were a good and sufficient reason. It was neither, of course, as Carey pointed out to the tax-supported armed functionary.

“I’m a citizen and a taxpayer and I have a right to be here,” she explained, according to police records cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m merely trying to find out about a sister’s funeral.”

Within seconds, Dolson and his cohort in state-sanctioned crime, Officer Jamie Nelson, had Carey “cuffed and stuffed” in their patrol car. After being held with her hands cuffed behind her back for 45 minutes, Carey was transferred by her abductors to a poorly ventilated paddy wagon in which she was held for another 45 minutes.

“I was very upset and very angry,” Carney recalled to the Journal-Constitution. “Here I am being treated as if I’m not human, not a citizen of this country. I was in this little hot box. There was no air. I was perspiring so much my glasses were sliding off my face.”

The middle-aged woman, a diabetic, was kept from eating for several hours. Wearing the handcuffs for an hour and a half left her with dangerous swelling in her hands.

Carey was cited for “disorderly conduct,” a cover charge preferred by uniformed bullies seeking an excuse to intimidate and harass Mundanes who are considered insufficiently docile. She endured three court hearings before the spurious charge was withdrawn. Officer Dolson didn’t deign to appear in court to press the charge.

Atlanta’s Civilian Police Review Board recently sustained Carey’s false arrest complaint against Officer Dolson, who has racked up 18 citizen complaints since 2001. As with every other Atlanta PD officer summoned by the Civilian Review Board, Dolson refused to cooperate with the inquiry.

The Board was resurrected following the 2006 police murder of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston, who was gunned to death in her home by a wolf pack of corrupt narcotics officers (but then, I repeat myself). Three of the officers involved in the murder of Mrs. Johnston are serving prison terms for charges arising from the killing and the attempted cover-up of the crime.

Despite the fact that the police department is required, by municipal ordinance, to provide the Review Board with “full access” to documents relevant to misconduct inquiries, the department — and, of course, the local donut-grazers’ union – has done everything possible to obstruct the Board’s work.

Sgt. Scott Kreher, president of the Atlanta chapter of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, insists that the Review Board “shouldn’t be doing these investigations,” reported the Journal-Constitution last August 26. A more suitable approach, he told the paper, would be to have the APD conduct its own reviews, perhaps aided by the Fulton County DA’s office, the FBI, or the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The problem with civilian oversight, Sgt. Kreher maintains, is that the board “cannot assure officers their `Garrity rights,’” reported the Journal-Constitution. This can only be done by the agency employing them, according to Kreher.

As previously explained in this space, the so-called “Garrity Rule” provides police with a specially enhanced protection against self-incrimination: The instant the word “Garrity” falls from the tax-devouring lips of an officer caught in prosecutable misconduct, everything he says can be used only for the purpose of internal discipline, rather than criminal court.

In one recent case, a police officer who had just finished the literal execution of an intoxicated driver immediately started to blubber, “I want my Garrity!”

“We support citizen oversight,” insists Kreher, “but where the line is drawn is when the Citizen Review Board violates the officer’s due process rights” — which supposedly includes special immunities against prosecution they alone enjoy.

Given the abnormally high rate of Atlanta police academy graduates with criminal records, the immunities defended by Kreher and his ilk have the effect of turning the Atlanta PD into a haven for the community’s criminal element.

In an ideal world, as envisioned by the coercive caste, just as ordinary “citizens” like Minnie Carey have no right to question arbitrary orders issued by their uniformed superiors, the actions of the state’s armed enforcers wouldn’t be aren’t subject to official review by mere Mundanes in positions of political authority.

6:04 pm on February 17, 2010
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