“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Romans 13:7)
The title of this post comes from the FOX Network television show, “COPS” which is seen on Saturday nights, and reruns of “COPS” seem to be constantly on one cable channel or another. My daughter Rachel has got to be the number one fan of both “COPS” and “America’s Most Wanted”. Unfortunately, THIS story is about a bad experience a friend of mine had with a bad cop. Lest any readers think I’m some sort of “panty waist, bleeding heart liberal”, I’m not. My father had a distinguished career in law enforcement, starting out as a Boston Police officer and retiring many years later as a Registry of Motor Vehicles official. My sister-in-law’s husband is a recently retired Dedham cop. A friend of mine is a corrections officer at Norfolk State Prison. I LIKE cops. Yet, even my Dad (as well as “America’s Most Wanted’s” John Walsh) used to say that there were some very bad cops. Probably 95% of police officers are outstanding people, but probably about 5% are bad apples who should never be on a police force.
My friend Melanie (not her real name), a woman over age 50, works for a very powerful attorney. A few days ago, she was driving, doing an errand for the attorney. She was driving the attorney’s car. At a MetroWest intersection (it WASN’T Framingham but I’m not going to tell you which town it was in ), she was driving the attorney’s car out of a side street and onto a main road when she noticed a truck barreling down on her. The truck was going MUCH too fast. The truck was messy, with ladders and other implements protruding from it. It all happened very fast, but Melanie fully expected the truck to smash into the attorney’s car. In fact, it missed by only an inch or so, BUT one of the protruding objects did hit the car, damaging a headlight and some of the trim of the left front corner of the car. Melanie was understandably upset.
Not knowing exactly what to do, she quickly made the turn and proceeded to try to catch up with the truck to get its license plate number. The truck was going way over the speed limit and Melanie had to do the same to catch up to it. Finally, she DID and got the number. To her surprise, just a short distance later, the truck turned into a driveway, and Melanie followed.
She got out and told the passive male driver that he’d damaged her car. “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, “I thought something fell, but I didn’t know what it was.” Melanie DID get all of his information, and then called her boss. The boss insisted Melanie call the local police station and have an officer come out and write up an accident report. Melanie very much did not want to do that, but if you’re smart you don’t argue with your boss. A few minutes later a middle-aged male police officer responded. Melanie made it a point to get the cop’s name, which WAS smart. She told him what had happened. He then told Melanie to get into her car. The officer then went into the house and spoke to the driver of the truck. (It turned out he was NOT the truck’s owner.) After awhile, the officer came out and spoke to Melanie. As she told the story, the cop was cold and detached. He told her to come to the police station in 90 minutes and pick up a copy of his report.
“Why can’t I see the report NOW?” she protested.
He insisted she come to the station in 90 minutes.
An hour and a half later, Melanie arrived at the police station. There was the officer, again cold and detached. He handed her a copy of his report. According to the report, Melanie was the cause of the accident! He wrote it up that she had failed to yield, had caused the accident, and had later followed the truck and FORCED the driver to stop. He cited her as causing the accident! Melanie said to him, “I don’t believe this, this is NOT what happened!”
The cop couldn’t have cared less. Melanie later showed the report to her boss. He was furious. The attorney did some research of his own, which turned up some interesting facts. The officer had been working for his department for only a couple of years. Previously, he’d worked for another Massachusetts police department from which he was DISMISSED after numerous allegations of impropriety, and much suspicious behavior. Regarding the truck involved in the accident, it turned out to be uninsured and unregistered!
The attorney went to the police station and personally confronted the police officer who’d intimidated Melanie and lied on the accident report. The attorney insisted any charges against Melanie be dropped and that a new report be written.
It happened. The citation was dropped and a new (and much more accurate) accident report was written.
This story is obviously disturbing for a number of reasons! I can’t help but think: what if Melanie WASN’T working for that attorney? What if she was just some ordinary woman in an unfortunate situation? No one would believe her. And WHY did this Town hire this Bozo as one of their officers?!
I pray briefly before I drive, every time I drive! It’s a practice I recommend highly! You never know what’s going to happen when you’re at the wheel, and sadly, you can’t always assume the police are on your side.
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