He’s Lying

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

And he’s not even very good at it.

Embattled Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan said Wednesday that having 10 police officers search for his son’s stolen iPhone on January 11 was not “some kind of preferential treatment,” but is something the department “would do for anybody in the city.”

“This is being cast as some kind of preferential treatment, but it was not,” said Meehan in a telephone interview. “It is not unusual for us to respond to a live track of stolen property with the resources we have available. We have done it in other cases. In this case, my son was the victim of a crime at the high school. My personal phone was linked to his and was able to track it. I showed that to a detective-sergeant and said ‘what can we do with this?’ He said we can work cases like this. He took his team to track the signal and they weren’t able to find anybody.”

The reason so many officers investigated the theft so quickly was because it was a crime in progress, said Meehan.

Riiiggghht. Last March, Ken at Popehat posted on another bizarre episode involving Meehan.

See, one night last week Chief Meehan read a story that he felt misstated his position on a controversial issue. The story reported that Chief Meehan had apologized for a slow police response to an incident; Chief Meehan felt that it was more accurate to say he had apologized for the police being slow in giving an explanation for the response time.

Chief Meehan apparently tried to reach the reporter, Doug Oakley, and the news organization, the Bay Area News Group. He was unsuccessful, probably because it was late at night.

So Berkeley Police Chief Michael K. Meehan sent a police officer to the home of reporter Doug Oakley to knock on his door at 12:45 a.m. and complain and ask for the story to be changed.

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35 Responses to “He’s Lying”

  1. #1 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Four of the officers worked overtime on the investigation, for which a report was never filed.”

    Ain’t no crime ’til there’s overtime! Was SWAT on stand-by? Hmm, wonder why they didn’t file an official police report. After all, it WAS a crime in progress.

    Note to chief: Just fess up. Cover-ups always make things worse.

  2. #2 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Patterico finally finds an instance of a SWAT team busting into home full of innocent people in the middle of the night egregious enough to get him angry:


    While on one hand I think it’s horrible that people are using SWAT teams to settle political scores now. On the other hand, given the complete lack of sympathy he’s had toward similar victims in the past, well, “Schadenfreude ist die schönste Freude.”

  3. #3 |  Leonson | 

    Yeah, when my boss comes up to me and says ‘what can we do with this’, I usually drop everything and assume he wants me to make his project a priority, at least for the moment.

  4. #4 |  Bob | 

    The reason so many officers investigated the theft so quickly was because it was a crime in progress, said Meehan.

    That or they were just all sitting around eating donuts anyway. I think Berkley could stand some layoffs.

    They only had one phone that could track the stolen one. How many guys does it take to drive over to the location of the stolen phone? You need one to hold the phone… and uh… one to carry the donuts.

  5. #5 |  (B)oscoH, Yogurt Eater | 

    The entire city of Berkeley has been a crime in progress for the better part of 50 years.

  6. #6 |  Onlooker | 

    This, of course, needs to be tested by having an average citizen call up ASAP and say they’ve had their smartphone stolen. I’m sure the response will be the same right? The chief said so!

  7. #7 |  Bob | 

    I also love the earlier deal, when he sent a Public Relations Officer, Mary Kussmiss over to the house of the reporter at 12:45 in the morning.

    My question is why was Mary Kussmiss even at the station? They have Public Relations Officers there all night? In civilian clothes? Or did the chief actually call her on the phone at home and tell her to come in to handle this?

    And then… to add insult to injury, he kept making edits to the reporter’s work the next day. How self absorbed is that?

  8. #8 |  EH | 

    Hah, someone brings up Patterico’s treatment of Kathryn Johnston and suddenly he finds a conscience?

  9. #9 |  HoldingTheFire | 

    The answer to this is for everyone in Berkeley to report their stolen phones and demand the same treatment.

  10. #10 |  Pi Guy | 

    I have to believe that the iPhone call are starting to poor in now!

  11. #11 |  Pi Guy | 

    Holy shit – I can’t believe I even typed that.

    How’s about “…iPhone calls are starting to pour in now.”

  12. #12 |  Highway | 

    Hey, come on now, of course it’s not preferential. I’m sure it got the same treatment that every phone belonging to the son of the police chief would get!

  13. #13 |  John P. | 

    Cop lie, because they don’t know any better…

    They lie about everything, including the numbers of cops who die in the line of duty…

    This is simply a lie, there is no other way to color it…


  14. #14 |  Other Sean | 

    The reporter intimidation stuff was bad news, but this missing cell phone story should be filed alongside “dog bites man”, “boss sleeps with secretary”, “electoral candidate tells less than the whole truth”, etc.

    There is NO system under which this type of small-time favoritism can be prevented. Even in Libertopia there will still be trivial abuses of public power (however much of it remains to abused).

    Besides, which would you rather have: an obvious and petty buffoon like Meehan, or a brutally serious moral crusader of the Nelson Van Alden type?

  15. #15 |  Rojo | 

    So, this is COMPLETELY off-topic, but I wanted to mention that the Lydia Loveless album that I purchased when Radley posted her video not so long ago arrived in the mail today and I have been listening to it over and over again. So damn good! Now we just need to get her out here to the Pacific NW to play some shows.

  16. #16 |  John | 

    (Note: I’m not in Berkeley, but I’m sure the same applies everywhere) Yeah, when my house got robbed and a Xoom tablet got stolen, we had a log of the IP’s it was using along with the times it was being used. I called the cops about this in January, I’m sure they’ll be getting back to me any day now.

  17. #17 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Doesn’t have to be good. State agent.

  18. #18 |  Not Sure | 

    Danny Lesh is an avid cyclist — and now he’s also somewhat of a vigilante, after he found his stolen bike online and managed to get it back.

    Lesh’s Cannondale hybrid was stolen after he loaned it to a friend who’d secured it with a cable lock, which are easy to cut if you’re a theft with a pair of boltcutters handy.

    But Lesh located the bike on Craiglist shortly after last weekend’s theft — his bike had a prominent sticker on it, so he was certain it was his.

    The ad asked for $100, and Lesh called the police, who told him they wouldn’t be able to respond right away.


  19. #19 |  CyniCAl | 

    Danny Lesh apparently doesn’t know the first and only rule of civilian/police interaction: NEVER CALL THE COPS

    He should have called PeeWee instead.

  20. #20 |  John | 

    Off topic: anybody else getting ads to join the NYPD on The Agitator? Yet another instance of hilariously bad targeting by the NYPD

  21. #21 |  J-Man | 

    @20 – John: haven’t seen the NYPD ad, but that is pretty funny!

    Why does the city tolerate this? Everything he says in response to his actions are a lie. Either he misappropriated taxpayer money and personnel resources for personal benefit, or, he has a shitty sense of his priorities as the head of ‘public safety’.

    The Left (meaning, the entire city populace) should’ve been marching in the streets everyday after sending the Public Information Officer to the journalist’s house.

    I just don’t get the Left’s actions and causes when it concerns basic liberties.

  22. #22 |  Joshua | 

    Sorry for the late night threadjack, but:


    What is it with police refusing to listen to people during raids? They won’t let you tie your dog up, etc.

  23. #23 |  Ariel | 

    “Besides, which would you rather have: an obvious and petty buffoon like Meehan, or a brutally serious moral crusader of the Nelson Van Alden type?”

    Really, neither. Talk about a false choice fallacy. Oh, wait you weren’t.

    And I apologize for being snarky, but those aren’t our two choices and you shouldn’t present it as such. How about someone with honesty, honor, integrity, and some damned perspective?

  24. #24 |  Peter Ramins | 


    Hey Radley, absolutely no hostility or “But you said” or “I told you so” here, but how do you react to this? I’ve held ever since Citizen’s United (well, since before) that money is the biggest political polluter in this country, and those with a lot of money can buy policies that provide a narrow set of benefits that they’ll enjoy, but are frequently detrimental to everyone.

    Or put another way, those who have want to shore up their position, not level the playing field. A bought government is not a Democracy, or a Republic.

    Now that it turns out that that 80% of the money raised by SuperPACs has gone to the candidates of the “Party of the ultra-rich, and the hornswaggled”… I wonder what your thoughts are.

  25. #25 |  perlhaqr | 

    Ariel: No one like that ever gets to that sort of position. They are always drummed out at the earliest levels, when they do something crazy like keeping fellow officers from pounding on an autistic kid, or objecting to the official lies when fellow officers make a man lie in a patch of goatheads.

  26. #26 |  NEWS LINKS: State’s taxpayers lose $75 million on failed game studio « David McElroy | 

    […] In fact, he says that any citizen reporting a theft would get the same service. What do you think? Is he lying? […]

  27. #27 |  Other Sean | 

    Ariel #23,

    The notion that we must choose between the venal and the tyrannical when selecting public officials is not mine, originally. If you dispute me on that count you’re also picking a fight with Locke, Hume, Montesquieu, Madison, Jefferson, and probably Radley Balko, etc.

    The world is not divided between bad people and people “with honesty, honor, integrity, and some damned perspective”, as you put it. The world is populated by people who respond reliably to incentives, and who are occasionally inspired by ideas. Both the ideas and the incentives can lead people to do great good or terrible harm, depending on the circumstances.

    A man with staunch integrity who follows a bad idea will do terrible harm. An unscrupulous man who cheats against that same bad idea may do great good. Either man will find it tempting to believe that the things which benefit him personally also happen to be the “right” things.

    But why should you assume that your imagined man of “honesty, honor, and integrity” will somehow share YOUR values? What happens if he is relentlessly honorable about pursuing a competing set of values?

    To put it another way, which would you rather have for Justice of the Supreme Court: Bill Bennett or Bill Clinton? Bennett is a noisy public champion of integrity. He’ll stay with the drug war long after the American people have turned against it; he has no fear of being hated. Bill Clinton, on other hand, is a career sleaze who can’t say the word “integrity” without getting big laughs. But even with no more elections to win, he’ll turn against the drug war the minute its poll trend predicts a durable move toward 55% percent opposed; he cares that much about being liked.

    I know my preference. I cannot understand your wish. Because in the only world that exists, there is no third way. Neither you, nor I, nor Bosco, nor Radley, nor John McWhorter, nor any of the people you have in mind when it comes to honor and integrity…NONE of us will take even the first step toward becoming a police chief, because that would first mean becoming a cop.

    So how is having a fair-minded, honest, civil libertarian police chief one of your options? And if that can’t happen in Berkeley, of all places, then what business do you have still hoping for it?

  28. #28 |  Rick H. | 

    10:20 am/ Other Sean:

    That was extremely well put.

  29. #29 |  Pi Guy | 

    NONE of us will take even the first step toward becoming a police chief, because that would first mean becoming a cop.

    Dag, OS. I was kinda leaning toward Ariel’s false dichotomy but you really sold it. I think you’re probably right: if one has integrity and honor and is honest, it doesn’t seem likely that person would want to be a cop in the first place. Ergo (I love saying “ergo” *snickergiggle*), I can see how that would make it difficult to get a chief with those qualities.

    What’s the answer?

  30. #30 |  doomboy | 

    Quote from the article about the prosecutor in ATL who was selling drugs:

    “Yet there are many admirers of Csehy’s abilities. “I have never been in a courtroom with anyone who had a better skill set than him,” said Cumming defense attorney James Hardy II.”

    I guess JH2 really, really, really, admires him . . .;-p

  31. #31 |  Other Sean | 

    Pi Guy #29,

    It’s a grim situation…any hope for change rests with the possibility of a civil libertarian interest group capable of loudly speaking the one language every police chief understands – that of political pressure.

    One of the sad things that happens in most mid to large American cities is that you never get a critical mass of people who think like us. Oh sure, we’ll live downtown when we’re young and cool and politically harmless. But by the time we get serious ideas and become capable of credibly expressing them, we’ve usually moved out to some suburb with a couple kids and an employer who wouldn’t appreciate our presence on the executive board of a pro-drug legalization pressure group.

    That leaves the cities to be populated overwhelmingly by older whites, working class whites, lower income blacks, and lower to middle income hispanics. And very sadly (to the chagrin of many commenters here), every one of those groups stand together in support of drug prohibition and traditional morality. They are the people of “nothing to hide, nothing to fear”.

  32. #32 |  Martk F. | 

    Well, at least he didn’t kill someone’s dog – or mother. This is more a “waste of police resources” story than an “outrage.”

  33. #33 |  Martk F. | 

    I live in Berkeley, btw. It’s a generally nice place despite the lefty government.

  34. #34 |  Ariel | 

    Martk F.,

    The outrage is in his lying. If he lies about this, he’s lying elsewhere. How many lies did he tell on the stand or in reports? I’d be more favorable to him if he had just said “it’s a perk of the job” or “we do more for our own”. Wouldn’t like it necessarily, but I would respect his honesty.

  35. #35 |  Militant Libertarian » He’s Lying | 

    […] Posted: June 3rd, 2012 by Militant Libertarian the Agitator […]