(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
After spending six years in law enforcement myself, the state of our current law enforcement is even more appalling to me. But, after seeing how law enforcement was trending in its attitudes, I was prepared for this — being threatened with arrest because I deigned to make a complaint.
Well, first, how it all came about to begin with…
I was heading to the store to pick up groceries. There was a vehicle in front of mine turning into the grocery store parking lot. As the vehicle in front of mine made the turn, I checked the oncoming traffic; none. I made the turn to enter the parking lot, but, the vehicle in front of mine almost stopped just as he begin entering the parking lot, effectively trapping my vehicle in the lane of traffic, proceeding to enter the parking lot at a slow rate of speed.
I reference the below three traffic statutes…
SECTION 56-5-1560. Minimum speed limits.
(a) Impeding traffic by slow speed prohibited. —No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such a slow speed as to impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
(b) Establishing minimum speed zones; signs. Whenever the Department of Transportation or local authorities within their respective jurisdictions determine on the basis of an engineering and traffic investigation that slow speeds on any part of a highway consistently impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, the Department of Transportation or local authority may determine and declare a minimum speed limit below which no person shall drive a vehicle except when necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law, when appropriate signs giving notice thereof are erected along the part of the highway for which a minimum speed limit is established. Also any minimum speed limit adopted by a municipality for a section of the state highway within the municipality shall not be effective until such minimum speed has been approved by the Department of Transportation.
SECTION 56-5-1930. Following too closely.
(a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.
(b) The driver of any truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle when traveling upon a roadway outside of a business or residence district and which is following another truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle shall, whenever conditions permit, leave sufficient space so that an overtaking vehicle may enter and occupy such space without danger, except that this shall not prevent a truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle from overtaking and passing any vehicle or combination of vehicles.
(c) Motor vehicles being driven upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district in a caravan or motorcade whether or not towing other vehicles shall be so operated as to allow sufficient space between each such vehicle or combination of vehicles so as to enable any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger. This provision shall not apply to funeral processions.
SECTION 56-5-2150. Turning movements and required signals.
(a) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal as provided for in this section.
(b) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
(c) No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give such signal.
(d) The signals required on vehicles by subsection (b) of Section 56-5-2180 shall not be flashed on one side only on a disabled vehicle, flashed as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear, nor be flashed on one side only of a parked vehicle except as may be necessary for compliance with this section.
Was I following too closely? No. Did the driver in front of me slow his speed dramatically, impeding my vehicle? Yes. Did I make the turn in reasonable safety due to traffic conditions? Yes.
And here is where the situation proceeded to escalate…
First, I could see the driver looking back at me “jawing” at me as I pulled around his vehicle to exit the roadway. I proceeded to find a parking space in the parking lot. The driver of the vehicle came around the parking lot and parked four spaces from mine, between my vehicle and the store. As I got out of my vehicle and walked towards the store, I could see the driver looking back at me still “jawing”. As I walked behind his vehicle approaching the store, the driver got out of his car.
As he got out and looked at me, I stopped, looked at him, and basically told him not to “jaw” at me. That if he was going to stop while turning, trapping vehicles behind him in the lane of traffic, not to be surprised when people go around him. And I walked on towards the store.
The notable thing here is that the officer in question was parked in front of the store, he stood there watching me as I explained this to the driver, and watched me walk on past him into the store.
As I went into the store, I turned back and viewed the driver of the vehicle talking to the same officer. I went about my shopping.
And here is where the assault occurs…
The driver of the vehicle tracked me down in the store, approached me, got his face an inch from mine, and threatened to “beat my ass”. I turned and went right back out to the officer still outside the store.
And here is where the officers inaction began…
I specifically told the officer that I wanted a report done so I could file a warrant for assault on the individual.
Simple assault is a “common law” charge, where a person doesn’t have to be the victim of battery, ie, physical assault, when a threat of harm is conveyed. It is also a misdemeanor, meaning, that unless an officer witnesses the assault, they cannot make an arrest. This is why a police report is imperative. It is the catalyst that allows a person to take out a warrant on another individual so that it can be adjudicated in a court of law. Without the report, a warrant cannot be sought.
The officer, despite my specific request that he do a report, did not identify the individual, nor, did he do a report. I knew this fact, and, was prepared for this when I went to pick up the report.
And here is where I got threatened with arrest by the Chief of Police of the municipality when I made my verbal complaint…
I went to the police department to get a copy of the report. The clerk could not find it. She called the officer, and, then transferred the officer to the Chief. I knew exactly what was happening; the officer was explaining why no report was filed. I asked to speak to the Chief when I was told no report was filed.
The Chief told me that the officer “deemed” that there was no need for a report, that no “incident” had occurred. Excuse me? A person had threatened me and I had requested a report specifically so that I could file a warrant.
The Chief then tried to make it “my fault”. I shouldn’t have made the turn, and, had one of his officers, a former state trooper, come out to tell me that state statute stated I was the one who made the turn illegally because the other vehicle had not cleared his turn before I made my turn.
You can read the statute above. It does not state that a vehicle must clear its turn before another vehicle begins its turn. It states that a vehicle cannot begin its turn unless it is safe to do so based on traffic conditions.
Then, the Chief told me that I was the one being Disorderly by “yelling” at the driver in the parking lot. That is the catch-all — disorderly conduct — when there is no other charge for arrest. My reply was; your officer stood there and WATCHED as I had the initial interaction with the individual and didn’t deem it to be disorderly since I wasn’t arrested, nor did he even intervene, at the time.
It was at this point that I told the Chief I wanted the officers name and badge number so I could file a formal compliant… and… that he told me that I could go to jail.
That’s right… I got threatened right then with being arrested… because I wasn’t putting up with the bullshit.
He then said he could do a report, and the other individual could file a counter warrant against me if I pushed it, after I refused to back down, and, that he would have his officer write me a traffic violation for my turn behind the driver.
Except… there is no law I violated that the other driver could file a counter suit… and… I didn’t violate any traffic violation.
So, there it is…
How I got threatened by the Chief of Police because I dared complain that his officer failed in his duty and how dare I, a former cop myself, dare complain.