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on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 4:03 pm by Radley Balko
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Michael Chaney |
June 23rd, 2010 at 10:08 pm
Lovely – professional courtesy backfires. Off-duty female cop in Dallas gets drunk at bar, people call (other) police to take care of her. Instead of arresting her, they decide to give her a free ride home. About 15 minutes into the ride, she tells them to pull over and they refuse. She fires her gun – yes, the geniuses didn’t disarm her – into the floorboard of the car. Get this – they’re now charging her with a misdemeanor of unlawful discharge of a weapon. I’m sure if one of us did the same it’d be a misdemeanor. Oh, and she might lose her job. I think we all know what the chances of that are.
The festival has a content neutral anti-leafleting policy that they can enforce inside the festival but not in the “outer perimeter” ; see Saieg vs Dearborn.
Said order was issued on the 17th, incidentally, the day before the festival started. It looks most likely that either
a) They were inside the “outer perimeter”, which is presumably well defined in festival policies or documents filed along with Saieg somewhere; or
b) The cops hadn’t been acquainted with the order and were relying on the previous status of the law, where the injunction against enforcing the leafleting provision had failed entirely (thus barring the “outer perimeter” as well) instead of succeeded partially.
But this has nothing to do with “creeping sharia” or Muslims being allowed to enforce supposed sharia law against proselytizing. The festival banned all leafleting. It’s entirely plausible it’s garden variety cops acting in excess of their authority, or that the Festival shouldn’t be able to ban leafleting while it holds an event on public grounds anyway, but neither of these have anything to do with creeping sharia. Nor does the camera thing – if you’ve been following Radley’s blog at all, you’ll notice that cops incessantly ask for the cameras to be turned off, and even arrest people for filming police misconduct in a public place.
Joe: it should also be noted that these guys were not proselytizing, but agitating. (I think agitating should also be protected speech also.) At the beginning of the video they explained what they were there for: to prove that “Christians” are persecuted there and will get locked up. What they were giving out was just a prop. (This makes me very sad as a Christ follower.)
They showed up to be assholes and prove that the majority could not get away with being assholes to the minority when the roles flip-flopped, and they were successful! Sadly, I fear that the lesson they walked away with is different than the one I did.
It also serves as a great reminder that what the police do when they are mostly getting it right is to uphold the moral standards of the populace. Those change over time; we no longer (often) hear of people being arrested for Fornication, for example. But in an area like Dearborn, those standards may change in ways uncomfortably to those used to being in the majority. The mature thing to do at that point is to wonder how much our majority status has been unfair to those outside it.