Saturday, February 11, 2012

Me, APD, and 'Babysitting While White,' Part Deux

A few years back Grits posed the question, "Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?" after my granddaughter and I were detained and questioned at length in my neighborhood on suspicion of some nefarious deed (it was never quite clear what). In that incident, the police were pretty clear I was stopped solely because Ty, like her mother (who came to live with my wife and me when she was a child) is black, while I'm an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck. At the time, Grits was amazed that three squad cars were dispatched to question me for walking down the street with a child of a different race, detaining me for no good reason and scaring the bejeezus out of then-two-year old Ty.

Last night, though, Ty and I got the full jump-out-boys treatment, making our earlier interaction with Austin PD seem downright quaint. It could only have been more ridiculous if they'd actually arrested me, which for a while there didn't seem out of the question. (This is a personal tale much more than a policy analysis, so if you're only interested in the latter, don't bother to read further.)

Our story began at the Millennium Youth Center in central east Austin, which is a city-owned rec center just a few blocks from my home of 22 years. Ty, age 5, often spends the night with us on Fridays to give Mom and Dad a night off, and we'd taken her there to go roller skating after dinner out as a reward for a week's worth of excellent behavior scores in kindergarten.

Perhaps at 7:40 p.m. or so, after she'd had her fill of skating (if the event were put to music, the appropriate theme song would have been "Slip Slidin' Away"), I asked Ty if she'd like to walk home and let Grandma take the car. It was cool but pleasant out, and we were just a short distance from the house, with a city-bike path where we often walk dogs together taking us most of the way there. She was elated: This sounded like a big adventure, and within moments she was bouncing off the walls with excitement, making me think a walk home was just the thing to burn off some energy before bed time.

This was a terrible mistake on Grandpa's part. Not because we live in a relatively rough neighborhood. I know many of my neighbors, saints and scoundrels alike, and I did not and do not fear becoming a crime victim walking that route, even with a five year old in tow. No, apparently the only folks Ty and I had to fear were in uniform.

Our interaction with law enforcement began after we left the Millennium Center on foot, with the giddy five year old racing ahead and me trotting along behind admonishing her to stay out of the parking lot and stop when she gets to the sidewalk, don't run into the street, etc.. She was in a good mood, obeyed, and we held hands crossing the street and as we walked down the bike path toward Boggy Creek and back home.

Then behind us I heard someone call out, though I couldn't make out what was said. We stopped to look back, and there was a dark silhouette crossing the street who Ty thought was calling out to us. We waited, but then the silhouetted figure stopped, crouched down for a moment, then took a few steps back toward the rec center, appearing to speak to someone there. I shrugged it off and we walked on, but in a moment the figure began walking down the path toward us again, calling out when she was about 150 feet away. We stopped and waited. It was a brown-suited deputy constable, apparently out of breath from the short walk.

She told me to take my hand out of my pocket and to step away from Ty, declaring that someone had seen a white man chasing a black girl and reported a possible kidnapping. Then she began asking the five-year old about me. The last time this happened, Ty was barely two, and I wasn't about to let police question her. This time, though, at least initially, I decided to let her answer. "Do you know this man?" the deputy asked. "Yes," Ty mumbled shyly, "he's my Grandpa." The deputy couldn't understand her (though I did) and moved closer, hovering over the child slightly, repeating the question. Ty mumbled the same response, this time louder, but muffled through a burgeoning sob that threatened to break out in lieu of an answer.

The deputy still didn't understand her: "What did you say?" she repeated. "He's my Grandpa!," Ty finally blurted, sharply and clearly, then rushed back over to me and grabbed hold of my leg. "Okay," said the deputy, relaxing, acknowledging the child probably wasn't being held against her will. (As we were talking, a car pulled up behind her on the bike path with its brights on - I couldn't tell what agency it was with) Then she pulled out her pad and paper and asked "Can I get your name, sir, just for my report?" I told her I'd prefer not to answer any questions and would like to leave, if we were free to go, so I could get the child to bed. She looked skeptical but nodded and Ty and I turned tail and walked toward home.

Ty was angrier about this, even, than I was. "Why is it," she demanded a few steps down the path, stomping her feet and swinging her little arms as she said it, "that the police won't ever believe you're my Grandpa?" (Our earlier run in had clearly made an impression, though she hadn't mentioned it in ages.) "Why do you think it is?," I asked, hoping to fend her off with the Socratic method. She paused, then said sheepishly, "Because you're white?" I grinned at her and said, "That's part of it, for sure. But we don't care about that, do we?" "No," she said sternly as we walked across the bridge spanning Boggy Creek just south of 12th Street, "but the police should leave you alone. It's not right that they want to arrest you for being my Grandpa." More prescient words were never spoken.

Just as Ty uttered those words, I made her hold my hand so we could trot across 12th Street amidst the sporadic, Friday night traffic, waiting for a police car to pass before heading across just west of the railroad tracks. Literally my intentions were - the moment we made it safely across the street - to resume our conversation to explain to Ty that nobody wanted to arrest me for being her Grandpa, that that wasn't against the law, and that the deputy had only stopped us to make sure Ty was safe. But we never got a chance to have that conversation.

As soon as we crossed the street, just two blocks from my house as the crow flies, the police car that just passed us hit its lights and wheeled around, with five others appearing almost immediately, all with lights flashing. The officers got out with tasers drawn demanding I raise my hands and step away from the child. I complied, and they roughly cuffed me, jerking my arms up behind me needlessly. Meanwhile, Ty edged up the hill away from the officers, crying. One of them called out in a comforting tone that they weren't there to hurt her, but another officer blew up any good will that might have garnered by brusquely snatching her up and scuttling her off to the back seat of one of the police cars. (By this time more cars had joined them; they maxxed out at 9 or 10 police vehicles.)

I gave them the phone numbers they needed to confirm who Ty was and that she was supposed to be with me (and not in the back of their police car), but for quite a while nobody seemed too interested in verifying my "story." One officer wanted to lecture me endlessly about how they were just doing their job, as if the innocent person handcuffed on the side of the road cares about such excuses. I asked why he hadn't made any calls yet, and he interrupted his lecture to say "we've only been here two minutes, give us time" (actually it'd been longer than that). "Maybe so," I replied, sitting on the concrete in handcuffs, "but there are nine of y'all milling about doing nothing by my count so between you you've had 18 minutes for somebody to get on the damn phone by now so y'all can figure out you screwed up." Admittedly, this did not go over well. I could tell I was too pissed off to say anything constructive and silently vowed to keep mum from then on.

As all this was happening, the deputy constable who'd questioned us before walked up to the scene and began conversing with some of the officers. She kept looking over at me nervously as I stood 20 feet or so away in handcuffs, averting her gaze whenever our eyes risked meeting. It seemed pretty clear she was the one who called in the cavalry, and it was equally clear she understood she was in the wrong.

A supervisor arrived and began floating around among the milling officers (I have no idea what function most of those cops thought they were fulfilling). Finally, she sidled up to repeat the same lecture I'd heard from the young pup officer who'd handcuffed me: "When we get a call about a possible kidnapping we have to take it very seriously," etc., etc.. By this time, though, I'd lost patience with that schtick. Interrupting her repetitive monologue, I explained that I could care less how they justified what they were doing, and could they please stop explaining themselves, focus on their jobs, and get this over with as soon as possible so Ty and I could go home? She paused as though she wanted to argue, then her shoulders slumped a bit, she half-smiled and replied "Fair enough!," wheeling around and issuing inaudible directions to some of the milling officers, all of whom appeared to continue doing nothing, just as before. Not long after that they released us.

Ty told me later that back in the police car she'd been questioned, not just about me but about her personal life, or as she put it, "all my business": They asked about her school, what she'd been doing that evening, to name all the people in her family, and pressed her to say if I or anyone else had done anything to her. Ty was frustrated, she said later, that they kept repeating the same questions, apparently hoping for different answers. She didn't understand why, after she'd told them who I was, the police didn't just let me go. And when it became clear they wouldn't take her word for it, she began to fear the police would take me away and leave her alone with all those scary cops. (I must admit, for a moment there I felt the same way!) On the upside, said Ty, when they were through questioning her one of the officers let her play with his flashlight, which she considered a high point. Don't you miss life being that simple?

Part of the answer, of course, to Ty's Very Good Question about why I wasn't released when she confirmed my identity is that I was in handcuffs and she was in police custody before anybody asked anyone anything. "Seize first and ask questions later" is better than "shoot first," I suppose, but it's problematic for the same reasons. I found out later police had told my wife and Ty's mom that I'd refused to let them question the child - a patent lie since they'd whisked her away into the back of a police car while I was handcuffed. I wasn't in a position to refuse anything at that point.

How hard would it have been to perform a safety check without running up on me like I'm John Dillinger and scaring the crap out of a five year old? I didn't resist or struggle, but they felt obliged to handcuff me and snatch the kid up for interrogation away from any adult family member. Nine police cars plus the deputy constable all showing up to investigate the heinous crime of "babysitting while white."

Moreover, there was no apology to be had at the end of this charade, to me or to Ty. They interrogated the child but no one tried to comfort her beyond handing her a flashlight to play with. And when it was over, not one of those officers, the supervisor included, thought to take a moment to try to explain to the child what had happened, why they'd behaved that way toward her family, or why they'd treated her grandpa like a criminal. They just opened up the door to the squad car as the cuffs were coming off me and Ty came running back and lept into my arms with such force it almost knocked me down.

After the cuffs were off, I said nothing to the APD cops as I carried the child away toward home. But I did pause when I passed the deputy constable - who still could barely look me in the eye - to say aloud to her, "You knew better. This is on you."

Ty was understandably shaken by the incident, and as we walked home she told me all about her interactions with the officers and peppered me with questions about why this, that, everything happened. She said she tried to be brave because she knew I'd get into trouble if the police didn't believe her (she was right about that!) and she was especially scared when she thought they weren't going to accept her word for it. Poor kid.

As we turned onto the last block home, two of the police cars that had detained us passed by and Ty visibly winced with fear, lunging toward me and wrapping her arms around my leg. I petted and tried to comfort her, but she was pretty disturbed and confused by the whole episode. Luckily, it also left her exhausted so she was out like a light soon after we got home, half an hour past her bedtime. This morning she stated bluntly that she had decided not to think about it - a practice my wife encourages when bad things happen - and it seems to be working. She's her normal happy self, though at the park this afternoon she wanted to pretend we were hiding from kidnappers. But I hated for a five-year old to be subjected to such an experience. I'd like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that.

UPDATE/CORRECTIONS (2/17): Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to review the documentation, video, audio and police reports related to this incident in Art Acevedo's office and heard his pitch why this blog post was unfair. There are really only two corrections I'd make having now seen the videos and other documentation Chief Acevedo showed me yesterday. (I'm probably going to write about it again over the weekend.) First, I recollected in the blog post that an officer had a taser drawn and from the video the officer's arm was only crooked and prepared to draw. It happened in a flash and like many eyewitnesses, when under a perceived threat, my mind filled in some pieces erroneously, I'll be the first to admit in light of the video evidence. It was not an intentional error. That said, I correctly perceived that all of a sudden a LOT of cops were on us out of nowhere and if I'd made any sudden or untoward moves I'd be tazed or worse. I think it wasn't unreasonable for either of us to feel threatened by them rolling up on us like that.

The other error was that the original post cast unfair blame on the deputy constable. Her report said that after we'd spoken, she was heading back to the Millenium Center thinking the incident was over when the dispatcher patched into the constable's frequency because they'd heard from the Millenium Center she'd gone after us. In the dispatcher's audio, she tells APD just before they roll up on us that she'd spoken to us, gave them Ty's name and told them I was her grandpa. Though I blamed her (unfairly) both at the scene and in the initial post, falsely thinking she'd called in the cavalry, she did not. In fact, in the scheme of things she got it right. Basically two departments with overlapping jurisdictions responded to this complaint: One came at us based on a community policing approach where she walked up calmly, asked a few questions, and according to her report was satisfied and had begun to return to her shift until she heard on the radio APD was coming. By contrast, APD handcuffed first and asked questions later. That's the big difference between the two departments' approaches.

AND MORE: See a followup post here.

484 comments:

1 – 200 of 484   Newer›   Newest»
Charles Kuffner said...

Jesus, Scott. What an awful story. Can you file a formal complaint? Someone needs to be held accountable for this.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry that this happened to your family. You can make a complaint to the office of the police monitor: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/police-monitor and there is also the citizen review panel which meets monthly: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/citizen-review-panel .

Anonymous said...

Preservation letters to APD and Constable to alert them to save audio/video because you want those in-car video and audio recordings. Open records request the CAD sheets from these agencies for both detentions that will reflect why the call was initiated and who the responding officers were and what activity occured during your detentions and the length of the encounter from detention to release. It may reflect how first encounter was or was not resolved and whether that first officer initiated the ensuing actions. Get these recordings NOW before they are lost if they exist at all.

Anonymous said...

Wow is all I can say. What a travesty of justice. I agree with other posters that you should file a complaint - PRONTO.

I, too, have a bi-racial grandchild (now 15) I've raised since she was an infant. I'm caucasian. She got away from me one time in a department store clothing section when she was about 3 and I had to chase her. Another shopper called security who called the police dept. Their comment was they responded because complaintant thought something "didn't look right".

Anonymous said...

Shoot, seize, search now, we will make it legal later. It is the Texas way...

ckikerintulia said...

What a travesty. I do not presume to give advice on what you ought to do or can do. You know this stuff much better than I. Even now I breathe a prayer for Ty, that this event, coupled with the earlier one, does not leave scars on her psyche. And my blessings--for whatever they're worth--to you as well, Scott.

Anonymous said...

" It could only have been more ridiculous if they'd actually arrested me, which for a while there didn't seem out of the question."

The moment you were cuffed, you lost your right to refuse to cooperate and go about your business. That is the definition of an "arrest".

You need to find a good attorney and file a federal civil rights suit against them to keep them from doing it again to you or anyone else. This is the second time you've had this happen to you. God only knows how many other folks have had similar circumstances. Think about what would have happened to a black man with a white child.

And be thankful you live in liberal Austin. In large parts of this state you might not have survived the encounter.

Anonymous said...

The big mistake they made was not immediately making calls to verify your story. That's what happens when it takes a dozen people to collectively make one brain, and then make a decision. Also, a couple of them could have offered to escort you home. That would have given the others time to verify your story, and check to make sure someone in the neighborhood wasn't missing a five-year-old. However, that would take some creative thinking. That's something that appears to be out of their realm.

Mule Breath said...

The overreaction is not entirely the cop's fault. They've been forced to take the chance of an overreaction in lieu of the consequences of failing to act quickly enough.

In both your story, Scott, and in one of the comments we hear that "someone" called the cops because "something didn't look right." What we have here is representative of the sickness of our society and the authoritarianism that it begets.

Everyone loses in these situations... but it will be Ty who pays the price. I doubt she will ever look at a cop without suspicion ever again.

Robert Langham said...

Austin plainly has four or five times more policemen than it needs.

Anonymous said...

How does it feel to live in a police state? As things improve in Russia, they get worse here. Go figure...

Virginia Raymond said...

This is terrible, but mostly I want to say I'm so sorry this happened to you and your grandfather. She is lucky that you are keeping the conversation open and listening to her.

Virginia Raymond said...

I mean granddaughter.

Thomas Hobbes said...

"The overreaction is not entirely the cop's fault. They've been forced to take the chance of an overreaction in lieu of the consequences of failing to act quickly enough."

I'm not sure anything could be further from the truth; how an officer reacts is a matter of training and choice. Scott already had been stopped and questioned once. Some of the officers already had observed his demeanor and had an understanding of the circumstances from Ty's response. You can't make me believe that a forced encounter with an obviously noncombative person could not have been handled differently if the officers had chosen to do so.

Scott's biggest offense probably was failing to respond to the first officer's questions, which he had every right to do. If the officer wasn't satisfied with his responses, then she should have resolved her concerns during the initial encounter.

Lee said...

Scott, If a cop saw you using a swill army knife for a ligit purpose they would disregard the ovious American Eagle Scout and call SWAT to apprehend what they misidentified as a terrorist.

They have the same need for psychological constrol over their victims as serial killers do.

Mule Breath said...

"I'm not sure anything could be further from the truth"

Thomas, perhaps you missed that I stated that the situation wasn't "entirely" the cop's fault.

From reading Scott's story it appears (to me) as if the deputy constable was responding to a citizen report, and that she behaved in a perhaps not incorrect manner. Again, if I'm reading Scott's story correctly, the failure came probably because she failed to properly clear her earlier call for backup.

All of this assumption of course, but that would be my guess for why she avoided eye contact in the second half of this incident, and she deserved Scott's parting comment.

The failure here is societal. Some busybody with a chip on the shoulder made an assumption and called the cops. The sickness lies there.

tc said...

Austin is becoming more and more like Williamson County.

I used to tell my kids the police were their friends; there to help them and to protect them. Not anymore.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that you, with the knowledge of the commonality of abuse and arrogance of Texas police authority, would take this opportunity to leverage this blog, all your known contacts in the media and legal system, and hammer and hulimiate the APD. Not for revenge, but to hopefully choke some of the institutional arrogance too prevalent in so many of our state's police departments.

Incandesio said...

I'm so sorry this happened...How scary for your poor granddaughter!

JH said...

I am sorry you and your granddaughter had to experience what was at best insensitivity by the officers. I agree that you need to file and obtain the videos form the patrol cars, the dispatch logs and any reports prepared by the officers form each agency. You can decide later what action you believe to be appropriate. She is very lucky to have you in her life.

Wolfie said...

Wait - the police questioned a minor child without a parent or legal guardian being present?

Right there - there's your lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Just to step back and consider another perspective here. Didn't law enforcement miss opportunities to intervene in the abductions of both Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard? If memory serves, Elizabeth Smart's abductor actually talked his way out of an encounter with a Salt Lake City detective in a public library with Elizabeth Smart physically present at the time. Although such abductions are statistically rare, I wonder how it would feel for an officer to have had a chance to intervene in a real abduction and to have not done enough? Moreover, could you imagine the public reaction to such a failure?

Anonymous said...

It's not just that you live in the wrong neighborhood for her to trust and respect the police, you live in the wrong universe. Trust me, its better she learns that lesson now.

Steve D said...

Don't we often hear the police don't care about black kids being kidnapped? Here the cops do intervene to protect a black kid.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of this story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6LCSGv1gA4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Anonymous said...

An awful experience, to be sure, but don't you think if you'd just told the 1st officer your name when asked that would have been the end of it?

Anonymous said...

I admire the way you handled the encounters, Scott -- I'm not sure I could have kept a level head in the same case. Your attitude and outlook are exemplary. Ty is beyond lucky to have folks like you in her life.

Anonymous said...

So do you run from it, or do you and your grandchild go back and work it out with the police? By confronting it with an outreached hand, you can educate the police on the problem by working with them and teach your grandchild the power of not running from your problem. At first it is going to be hard to use honey instead of vinegar when talking to the police, but try to so that working in a positive way you can change a culture and prevent more cases of this happening.

Anonymous said...

>anon 5:12; is a letter sufficient or is filing for preservation of testimony/evidence at district court needed?

Anonymous said...

So this was the second time-in three years no less- that this has happened in the same city with the same department, right? Scott, all you have to do is get a copy of the police report from last time, along with the entry into the police database (available under the Freedom of Information Act) that shows the report was indeed digitized and you have them dead to rights. As soon as they ran your name they knew this has happened before, and knew Ty's name and where you lived. They knew everything about the previous encounter. The female constable should have gone back, called it in with your name and it would have been a done deal. Make no mistake folks, when they run you against the database, even a local LEO database, they know every time you have been detained (NOT even arrested!!!) since you were 18, 16 in some states.

They were milling around trying to figure out a way out of the mess, make no mistake. You were held while they ran you against every state and federal database they could because the KNOW they have made a mistake.

At the very least this is a lawsuit, and one the ACLU would love to see. If you don't do the right thing and hold them accountable, they will continue this activity and next time it may be against Ty 20 years from now with her own child that may not be of the same color....

Anonymous said...

It was the citizen who called in a kidnapping that started this. APD isn't perfect but they are better than other counties in Texas and other regions in the US. Remember the 90s when every male adult who looked at a child was prosecuted for molestation? The cops respond to the will of the idiots citizens like the posters here. You asked for it and you got it. Race issues make it more noticeable but it is really about gender.

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry to hear this story. I hope you have some allies who can help you shame the APD into admitting their error (by complaint, media attention, lawsuit, whatever). I also doubt that Austin is so crime-free that that many cops were necessary at that time.

catbyrd said...

As a paralegal with a criminal defense firm in Dallas, consider your granddaughter blessed by these experiences. From an early age, she will instinctively understand that police will NOT accept her word as truth for anything and that talking with them will get her (or someone she loves) into trouble. That is an invaluable lesson in a country where increasing numbers of law enforcement officers are nothing but jackbooted and armed thugs.

I firmly agree with other posters who advise you to file, at a minimum, a complaint.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear it. It's funny how much public perception of the police has changed between generations. My mom is about to turn 70, and considered cops to be public servants, there to help in times of emergency. Her opinion was changed through a series of bad interactions with the local police force. I consider them to be untrustworthy, and best dealt with through lawyers. I know they are not my friends, and that I should avoid speaking with them without legal counsel present.

I wonder what my son will view them as? He's only a couple of years older than your granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

Please share this story far and wide. Austin police are out of control. How they handled this is wrong, wrong wrong.

Anonymous said...

Guy chasing a kid through parking lots and down streets - I can see how that might look suspicious. Cop responds to call and the guy refuses to give his name - more suspicious.
Seems like you were looking for a fight because you were pissed about the last run-in.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. Someone ( not a cop) reported a kidnapping. When the cops responded aggressively( how do you think they should respond?) you are hostile and evasive. Persecution complex? Drama queen? Get over yourself .

Petra said...

I can hardly believe this story... Makes me sad and frankly, pissed off. Ty sounds like a wonderfully smart girl. Hope it won't bother her too much!

Anonymous said...

Hey posters, YOU are responsible for this police behavior. You react emotionally to these stories - and stories about kidnappings. You demand laws be made and action be taken. Well here it is. Is it really that hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

A vanishingly small percentage of the population is armed and dangerous to police officers and will start shooting as soon as questioned (because the obvious answers are things that will get them put away for life). Sadly, the police response to this is to immediatly make everyone helpless whenever they need to deal with us.

Fortunately, technology marches on. Soon they'll discover that fewer officers get shot, stabbed in the face, and rained on if they do the initial questioning through a remote, and we'll no longer have to deal with paranoid, surly officers, just little 5 pound helicopters with wireless cams and speakers.

August Rush said...

Cops, always around when you don't need or want them.

Mark Bennett said...

I'd like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that.

Or the wrong decade.

Anonymous said...

This is horrible. I'm totally on your side. I think everyone of those police officers should lose his badge. They are only making themselves more hated then they already are.

sunray's wench said...

Scott, you need to initiate some kind of formal complaint procedure here. Not just for you and Ty, but for everyone else in Austin and the rest of Texas who think that the police are always right. You pay their wages at the end of the day, they work for you, and should be held accountable.

Yes the officer was right to stop you in the first instance and follow up on the public call. It is debatable whether things would have unfolded the way they did if you had given your name to that officer, but even from this distance it does not sound like procedure was adequately followed by the other officers once you had been stopped the second time that night.

Somebody needs to remind the police there that over-use of attending officers is almost certain to escalate the tension and lead to use of force when none was otherwise needed.

Anonymous said...

I have had to have the talk with my kids where I explained to them to never ever ever speak to the police. Sad I know but in this day an age they are the real problem in society.

Anonymous said...

There is a balance between a perfectly free society and a perfectly safe society. The more free the society is, the less safe it is and vice versa. The question is, where do we want the balance?

Unknown said...

I can't help but wonder if the initial caller at the skating rink, the "concerned citizen" who called the police in the first place, knew that you were her family and simply wanted to cause you some trouble because they disapproved of the two of you being family.

If you get a lawyer to handle your case against the police, which I strongly recommend that you do, you might find out that the caller was someone you know.

Phillip Baker said...

And there in the post by 8:35 is the problem in a nutshell. It was all your fault. No presumption of innocence, aggressive and overly rough treatment of both you and a child, NINE squad cars! The term "police state" is tossed about too freely these days, but nonetheless we certainly are close to being one. From my view this is one of the byproducts of the "war on drugs". I have watched over my 64 years as police have been incrementally militarized. Today's cop is outfitted for battle with all that equipment they strap on. They are trained to a mindset of us against them. We citizens are suspects, persons of interest, "actors"- all sorts of dehumanizing terms. And like all authoritarian forces everywhere, they never apologize, never admit wrongdoing. They close ranks and roll on.

Yet 8:35 thinks this was an appropriate police response. I, too, used to see cops as public servants. No more. I felt it was my duty to teach my kids to avoid contact with police if at all possible, because there are just too many chances of running into some cowboy cop with an attitude. "Arrest 'em all and let the courts sort it out" is the prevailing view, but even an a detention like this can have serious consequences for many people. There are still some of us who would have bridled at such treatment and asserted- quite legitimately!- our constitutional rights in that encounter, and then how bad would it have gotten.(And to 8:35- what is the point of having constitutional rights and ll the freedoms we like to brag about, if we cannot exercise them? Isn't that the very point in having rights and freedoms, to USE them?)

The biggest problem with modern police -even APD, which is overall a great force comparatively- is the arrogance. I'd like to see how 8:35 reacts when a cop gets up in his face yelling commands, shoves him around with the presumption he's just another scumbag thug, detains him while a dozen of his buds mill around, then release him with NO explanation and certainly NO apology. No, my kids were taught that cops can too often be thugs with badges, and you can't be too careful around them. They're "armed and dangerous". Sad.

Anonymous said...

Seems like APD and most other law enforcement do the handcuffing and arresting first and then work their way forward to building a case, to make it fit whatever outcome they want, as opposed to the way it should be handled. I would file against them if I were you.

Anonymous said...

Great job APD! Now another person is going to grow up fearing and hating the police.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's good she learned this so early

Jason Vines said...

Thanks to the Internet, more and more people are starting to realize how dumb and thuggish many police officers are. They'll even handcuff and humiliate a grandfather just for walking down the street with his granddaughter.

That little girl will hate cops for the rest of her life for what they did to her grandfather and her.

Even if the majority of police are good people who seek to protect their communities, that doesn't matter -- because out of either petty cowardice or misguided loyalty, they let dirty cops get away with their misbehavior. They let bullies with badges set the standard for how the citizenry perceives all cops.

melissa said...

Scott - I video taped the Austin police last week and was arrested.

Anonymous said...

This post was picked up by some news aggregators and I think will reach a broader audience. Please do everything listed. File a complaint so it is a learning experience for the police department and reduces the chances of it happening again. Get the records preserved so that they can be used to teach the officers involved to improve their behavior.

At the same time, put a few family photos in your wallet so people can see you are related with a history together. One time is an accident. Two times is a pattern.

Anonymous said...

Certainly the police over-reacted.

But it also sounds like Scott had an opportunity early on the diffuse the situation by having a calm, cooperative, meaningful conversation with the first responding officer, who was concerned with assuring the well-being of the child.

But from what Scott says, he didn't do that. It sounds like he became defensive and reactive early on. That's not a good way to respond to anybody, so it's not going to be a good way to respond to police officers.

RSO wife said...

GFB, you knew this would bring out a lot of comments and it did. I'm so sorry this happened to you and to not only your granddaughter, but any small child.

However, now you have a taste of how the police and the public treat registered sex offenders (no matter what their offense) who have served their time and are back in the community.

Mass hysteria and the Texas Injustice system strike again.

Anonymous said...

Your granddaughter is black in the 21st century, if she trust cops it will come back to bite her.

Police are no longer there for our protection, they're there to make a profit and feed their egos with a seemingly unregulated power.

But if I were you, I'd get a lawyer and sue for every penny you can get, from assault for them jerking you around, to emotional damage of your granddaughter. The more you take the less ridiculous charades they can preform.

Agorist Don said...

Sad but believably story. This sort of thing happens way too often. I've added you to my blogroll at http://tirelessagorist.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

BWW (babysitting while white) wonder what sentence this offence will garner,will it be a misdemeanor or felony??

Anonymous said...

The first thing that came to mind when I begin to read this was,"Some twit with a cell phone." Such is life. Hope that this makes you and your grand-daughter all the more stronger.

Warren

Incandesio said...

Hey Grits, how long do you think it wil be before the cops force the middle-class to adopt their own version of the 'stop snitching' campaign? How long before the average citizen begins to realize that getting your ass kicked or your posessions stolen is nothing compared to the long-term damage answering a few 'friendly questions' can cause?

That's a serious question, something I've been wondering for a while now. Or do you think the 'Am I being detained' thing is exactly that?

Anonymous said...

1. No one should have to endure this kind of indignity needlessly
2. Now imagine this sort of outrageous thing casually happened to you weekly, if not daily
3. And to all your family members and friends too
4. Congrats, you have an idea what it's like to be black in America.
5. Except instead of support, most people commenting here would say some version of "They were just doing their job" or, "You must have done something suspicious for them to stop you in the first place"
6. All of us should unite against the creeping Police State

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it's very unlikely she'll grow up to think the police are there to help. You experienced something that occurs daily to African-Americans.

I have the same fear as I am mixed race (black/white) and have a very light skinned daughter with blond hair and green eyes. Until she was old enough to confirm who I was I basically wouldn't go anywhere with her unless her mother was there for fear of the exact same thing happening. But I'd never talk to the cops like you did! I'd get beaten if I did.

Anonymous said...

No "Travis-ty of justice" yet? Okay, I'll take one for the team.

Another example of why constables are worse than worthless -- they actually hurt people.

Anonymous said...

Bullies with low self esteem - that's all SOME law enforcement personnel seem to be - the same jocks that used to beat up nerds in high school, the same nerds who now create medicines and the fantastic gismos we all use on a daily basis.

All I have to say is "live by the gun, die by the gun".. even the bad guys, ok?

Debby said...

It's not just the police, it's indicative of a larger population. I have one white grandchild, two black grandchildren, and one Asian grandchild.
When I take out my white grandchild, no one looks twice at us, but I take any of the other three, it's amazing to watch folks actually stare at us.
It's even more interesting as "The Help" is nominated for so many Academy Awards. None of them seem to see themselves in Miss Hilly.

Anonymous said...

My lawyer is a judge, and a former Assistant District Attorney. His advice?
Never ever ever speak to the police without a lawyer present. They are not interested in finding out the truth. Their only goal is to arrest and convict people of crimes. If they can do that to you, they will, regardless of actual guilt or innocence.
File a complaint- you have a civil duty to, and to your grand daughter.

Anonymous said...

out of control bullies, maniacal moronics and skillfull stupidity at work, sorry you had to endure,, but take heart, the law enforcement(written with tongue in cheek)are NO better here in Tennessee...Take Care Scott...

Phillip Baker said...

My initial response to the calls for you to sue was negative Great, just what we need, another lawsuit. We are truly a litigious society.

But then I recalled that virtually all progress in corrections and law enforcement has come because of lawsuits. Governmental entities do not engage in self-examination seeking ways to improve. They just don't. They make progress when an injured party collects a bundle of bucks, thereby forcing changes to prevent further loss of bucks. Example: Requiring medical care for prisoners came from a suit in NY (Wolf v NY?). Prisons didn't provide medical care from their abundant concern for their customers.

So, sad to say, at least a complaint is in order here, just to put APD on notice that they need to make changes in their training.

Anonymous said...

I would disown my offspring if they produced a black child. I would not even consider spending time with a black grandchild.

Anonymous said...

I think, if I were in your situation, I would go ahead and file some sort of civil suit. Not because I'm a litigious person, but because this is surely going to continue to happen to you, your family, and other families like yours, in your community, and as we become more and more racially integrated, until someone stands up and does something about it. I had a boyfriend whose grandmother was African, whose father was white (Cuban-white) and whose mother was Latina (Cuban again). In the winter, he looked light Latino and in the summer, he looked closer to black. We once walked up to a grocery store together in the south and were eyeballed with disdain by a couple of police officers. Having been raised in the midwest, I didn't catch the problem at first and told my boyfriend to pull up his pants, since I thought he might be giving off some "thuggish" vibes. He said, "No baby, they don't like that we're a mixed couple." I thought he was out of his mind. We were just a nice, young couple, out to get some groceries...right? Wrong. That was EXACTLY the problem and it was verbalized as we walked by. As it happens, things didn't work out with that guy and we didn't have children, but imagine if we had! This behavior is ridiculous. Yes, we need to protect our children from kidnappings and the awful things that go on in this world, but we also need to recognize that...uh...people marry and procreate outside of their own races these days. I mean...come on. How narrow-minded can we be? Racial profiling at its...uh...finest??

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you don't live here in southern California, where the adrenaline junkie cops all hold you down while the biggest of their cowards cave in your face with the butt end of a taser until your nearly dead.

Anonymous said...

The American Way. Hiel Obama!

Anonymous said...

Read the whole story...he had already been questiomed, and given answers, by the constable...bet you'd feel different if it had been you

Anonymous said...

Is there any reason to believe the police were telling the truth about the phone call? It strikes me as much more likely that they were making the stop because of their own suspicions and just lied about the call because it sounds better.

Anonymous said...

Read the whole story...he had already been questiomed, and given answers, by the constable...bet you'd feel different if it had been you

Anonymous said...

The going rate for unlawful arrest lawsuits is about $8,000 per minute handcuffed.

Lawyer up and start a college fund for your granddaughter.

ital mama said...

My children are biracial and even though they are lighter than my husband, they haven't had to experience what Ty did. However, they have seen the disparities in how law enforcement reacts in different areas. We currently live in Houston, but when we briefly lived in Austin we lived close to where you describe and APD is definitely ask questions later in their tactics.

The thing that bothers me most is that Ty will always harbor fear and anger towards police because they no longer protect and serve, but oppress.

Anonymous said...

Piece of shit cops are just hired thugs: http://goo.gl/obiC

Anonymous said...

Let's Jail a 100 innocent people just to make sure 1 guilty one doesn't go free! Who's with me?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone would say the police were justified in their actions. One thing to think about is how your grandchild may now see the police and law enforcement in general as a result. I know it is random but you might consider contacting the APD or local police station, explaining the situation and setting up some ride alongs with you and your granddaughter or have a shadow a police officer day at the station house. It would be tough to bite the bullet in this department. However it may be a good idea to have her realize now that the police are people too (often dumb, but good intentioned people) and avoid building phobias and authority issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you didn't just show the KGB your papers if you're a good, law-abiding citizen of the Soviet Union.

Anonymous said...

T think it is another case of 'Babysitting While Male' more than
'Babysitting While White'. There are progressively more and more absurd restrictions limiting the interaction of men with children in our society.

Anonymous said...

I would donate money to your legal fund if you aggressively pursue legal action against the police dept.

If you don't sue to the maximum amount, you are allowing this to continue. Please fight it with all your might and power. Yes, you may even have to move away; but do you really want to live in such a back-assward place as this? Sometimes, its best just to declare a place 'unfit for living' and move away.

But still, please sue the pants off that police dept. If you do not, they will continue their bad behavior ;(

Jim Liebgott-Osinga said...

"but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that"

You live in the wrong country for that. The US has effectively been a police state for at least 20 years. Most "citizens" refuse to believe it. The police are more to be feared now than criminals, as you are more likely to be mal-treated by police or government, based on their suspicions, than you likely to be a victim of a crime.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a cop, and I can tell you this was handled very poorly. While they certainly can investigate a complaint, there are about a hundred ways to do it without you ending up in handcuffs and the kid in the back of a car. I never did it, but many cops love to lecture. They get a thrill from dressing people down, talking down to them, telling people the cops have a right to do this and that, etc. It's sickening, and it's one of the reasons I got out of it. They should just do their jobs as efficiently as possible and with as little hassle as possible. That rarely happens unless they're solely motor traffic detail - they have to be efficient to fill their quotas. I suggest you have some family pictures made and keep a few in your wallet showing you and the kid together. Then you can just pull it out any time and show it to them. As soon as you do that there is no longer any reason for them to continue any detention of any kind, and if they do then they're open to legal action.

Phelps said...

I think all the Anonymous dittoheads are reading too much into the "getting a call about a possible kidnapping" thing. Nothing about that indicates that it was a call from an involved citizen. They would refer to it as "a call" when it came from the deputy constable as well -- which it almost certainly did.

Why did she do it? Because exercising your rights is "contempt of cop."

Phelps said...

That should be uninvolved citizen.

Anonymous said...

For those saying that you should be grateful that it was in Austin otherwise it could have been worse: You need to wake up. Austin may vote more liberally than other areas in Texas, but racism is alive and well in this city even among the "enlightened". Bias is deep-seeded. I see and hear examples of prejudice from self professed liberals in this city often, yet everyone seems to stick their head in the sand about it because we like to think we are in a superior city. The attitudes of my fellow liberals when it comes to East Austin or even South Austin are downright shameful. Until we face the facts that even liberals can be prejudiced, nothing will change. Sitting around patting ourselves on the back for not being in a hick city (another prejudice), our community will never address the most dangerous forms of racism--those hiding among the "tolerant".

Anonymous said...

anonymous at 11:25 am--you sound Mormon

Anonymous said...

Honestly, what did President Obama have to do with this? Absolutely nothing. Sadly, police can sometimes take it too far. Bottom line: that constable should be disciplined. That family"s civil rights were violated because of an over zealous cop. Law Enforcement, take note: this is how you train a generation of children to never trust police. Politics has no place here......and just in case you have the desire to justify my opinion with any political affiliation, I"m an Ind.

Anonymous said...

Funny, but I saw the same type of situation recently in Amherst, NY where I white elderly gentleman grabbed a black child forcibly by the hand in a store and several people gave him looks that could kill. The child was but 4-5 and very cranky and fighting to get away from the man. At first I thought I should question the cause of the disturbance but then the child called the man,"grandpa" and it alleviated my fears and the child calmed down. Any intelligent person could see after a short observation that there was no problem but in today's strange world you never know. Cops sometimes have no common sense as it your case.

Crain Watcher said...

Scott, I am sorry to read this and I am really sorry for you and the child. Yes another child will grow up to fear and hate the APD. This has nothing to do with President Obama, Anon; you should have been taught this in 9th grade government class. This war on drugs and police state started under Nixon, his southern strategy and this was to scare white people that his law and order would protect them from the minorities’ hordes that were out of control. This was also Reagan’s southern strategy also. But the real kicking is if you even paid attention is was King Bush that pushed the Patriot Act through Congress and just look at a picture of Congress and even a fool could figure this one out. This Act gave the Police State we live in today the right to do anything they see fit. Look at all the innocent people here in Texas just release that goes back twenty or thirty years. President Obama had nothing to do with the out of control Police State we live in today. This is why I am the way I am today about Law Enforcement accountability. I saw something about a year ago at the good ole Crain Unit. A female officer was patting down a visitor at visitation and all the sudden her little boy started crying and ran up and grabs his mother legs for dear life. I as an educated man can only assume this young child had seen some people patted down and carried away by law enforcement. So here we have a small child around three years old and this is how he views law enforcement. Back in the 90’s when the Republicans took over all the southern state houses and capitals they began to pass the most and serve draconian laws this nation has even seen and this is when the Prison Industrial Complex exploded making profits and all the TUFF ON CRIME crap was sold to the good people who were terrified by political commercials of the wolves coming to get them. President Eisenhower warned the nation against the Military Industrial Complex and we did not listen then and look at all the wars that followed. I am sure if someone would have warned us about the Prison Industry no one would have listen either. Keep voting these people into office and there will never be accountability. They are always the first ones to say “your” family member should not have broken the law; but, they are the first ones to go to the police, DA, and Judges to have “their” family member’s charges go away. It is sad the same standards do not apply to them.

april_cozen said...

well, if you are going to walk around with black kids you should get a little organ grinder so they will just think they are your pet monkey. No one gets hurt that way, and you can make a couple of bucks.

kristinm said...

Not the cops fault-blame the "system" in place. I liken the cops today to the Romans in Jesus time- just following orders and desires of the state. When I read "Codeword Cablesplice" "Operation Garden Plot" those conspiracy theories are starting to make sense: to cause dissent between races and the police. They've accomplished both in one swoop with you and your precious granddaughter

Chad said...

The one good thing that may come out of this is that with your lawsuit (which you are certain to win; call up the newspaper and you'll have reporters crawling over themselves for your story), your granddaughter's college fund is secured.

Spiritual Ninja said...

Dude, that is messed up!!! I am sorry that happened to you.

Daniel Simon said...

To the double anon at 8:35.

You are obviously a cop trying to excuse outrageous conduct by TEN fellow cops!

How many of you cowards does it take to feel safe around a 5 year old and a grandfather?

In the first place Moron, there is no requirement to identify yourself to a goon who wants to talk to you.

Failure to ID in Texas is only when you refuse to ID if you are arrested...OR (voluntarily) give false ID when detained.

Most people I know have no use for cops and see them as revenue sucking over glorified meter maids...while a growing number hate and despise them as the jackbooted thugs of an increasingly suppressive government at all levels.

To paraphrase another writer...it took ten to make a brain...but that is overly generous...and the combined force doesn't make one decent soul.

Scott, you are a better man than I because once these thugs released me I would have told them exactly what kind of low-life,inbred, slimy little assholes they really are.

You see Anon is is not even a crime to curse one of you out. And I have done it boy, more than once. After some traffic stops!

You see nitwit, every traffic citation the City of Austin writes violates two State Laws (Transportation Code Section 543.006 (a+b) since they do not specify a time to appear...or a place to appear.

These tickets go on to demand a promise to plea...something unheard of in American Jurisprudance and designed to trick the ignorant out of thier right to appear before a Magistrate. The Austin P.D. commits the crime of Official Misconduct every time they write on into Kangaroo Kourt a.k.a. Austin Municipal Court.

But anyway...I beat them on a regular basis based on this and other facts and have a couple of pages on fighting traffic tickets for anyone interested at my website:

http://www.wilcoshysterbuster.com

Doc Ellis said...

Greetings Scott

I believe the government employees involved in this episode know who you are and are looking for a way to kill you in such a way that your reputation will also die.

I believe that these fecal-suckers have read many of your posts and are out to get you.

Watch your back. Know now what you will do then when they try to take you down.

Doc Ellis 124

Anonymous said...

Bull puckey. You can't hire nice guys to deal with thugs and wifebeaters and shoplifters You have to hire thugs to deal with thugs. Even the nice people who live in Texas understand that cops are just marginally better versions of those they're hired to control. If you're old enough to have a granddaughter you already know this.
If I saw an old white guy walking with a small black child I'd want to know more. Roughly a third of non-family abductions are committed by 'walking.' I would consider privacy concerns to be secondary. And catch the cops on a really slow night they're all going to respond.

Anonymous said...

You should have given your name to the cop when he asked. The fact you didn't raised suspicions that something wasn't right, so, in their minds, the additional force was required. Next time this happens, tell the cop what he needs to know, unless you want to go through the whole bit again.

Yes, technically, you are probably not legally required to comply with such a request. But it makes the cops suspect you of wrongdoing, and when a child's physical safety is in question, they will follow up unti they are sure everything is ok.

Comply even if you don't want to, to prevent trama to your grandchild.

Anonymous said...

They wanted to hold you accountable for an action you did not attempt...Hold them accountable for actions they did not prevent!

By sending an army of officers to interrogate you and you little one, they could have accomplished the same with just 1 or 2.

What actual crimes did APD miss while doing this?

Teach them a lesson, maybe they'll learn from it?

Anonymous said...

So the next time a child gets abducted, most people on this blog would prefer the cops worry more about being sued than recovering the child? Wonderful! As a parent, I'd much prefer that they err on the side of being darn sure my child is safe. I'm thick skinned enough to get over being insulted by the police. I don't think I'd ever get over the loss of my child, however. Especially if I knew the police could have saved her but didn't.

Anonymous said...

HIRE A LAWYER AND stop discussing THE case. THOSE ANIMAL BASTARDS TRIED TO DESTROY YOUR LIFE AND THE CHILD. STARTING WITH TRYING TO GET THE CHILD TO ACCUSE YOU OF BEING A PEDOPHILE. THESE ANIMALS NEED TO BE JAILED AND LOSE ALL THEIR PENSIONS. AFTER PROOF THAT SHE WAS YOUR GRAND CHILD THEY WERE ATTEMPTING FRAME YOU TO COVER UP THEIR RACIST CRIME.

Anonymous said...

And how do we know the constable informed APD she had spoke with him already? You don't know. Now did he need to be handcuffed? With that many officers there probably not. Was separating the child from him a good idea? I would say yes. If he was doing something wrong she may have been scared to speak around him. I think too many people on here are paranoid about the police. I bet if it had been your child missing you would want the police to do their best to work out if the child was in trouble or not.

Anonymous said...

In a sense, it's good that this happened as it did, where your grand-daughter learned a valuable lesson, but nobody was hurt: The police are not your friends, and they are not there to serve or protect you. They are agents of the state, no different now than the thugs crime gangs employ to protect "their turf" and to break legs now and then just to "set an example." The only difference is the cops use tasers and pepper spray rather than baseball bats.

At one time, police may have been agents and protectors of the people, but not for decades, particularly in big cities such as LA, NY, or now, Austin. Now, police are just another hazard to be avoided, like wild animals, car crashes, deranged homeless people, fires, floods, and plagues.

Probably best that your grand-daughter learn that lesson while protected by her childhood, rather than later in life, when the police feel free to do anything they want to people.

Anonymous said...

Don't talk with any corrupt cops and especially corrupt DAs office. They are afraid of civil suits. The corrupt racist cops are protected by a corrupt union. Also, plan on leaving Texas as they will be looking to do a number on you to silence you. be careful these animals will spread the word among their criminal evil cops.

Anonymous said...

Put a family photo in your wallet. You can ask them to look at it the next time this happens.

Anonymous said...

Actually the fail to ID you speak of is a class b or a (if a fugitive) misdemeanor. There is a class c misdemeanor of fail to ID. Which entails refusing to give your name and information if legally detained. And texas law states the only class c misdemeanor you can't be arrested for is speeding or open container. Unless you refuse to sign the citation. Just trying to help you out. And sure you can make yourself look like an idiot my cursing the cops out, I advise you don't do it in front of someone who might be offended by your language though. That's an arrestable offense as well. Disorderly conduct abusive language.

Anonymous said...

I see a large amount of idiocy and ignorance being posted here. While the entire situation was unfortunate, allow me to shed a little light on it as I was working that night. First, the call came in to the dispatcher that a little girl was screaming, crying, and yelling for help, and struggling against a man who seemed intent on walking away with her. Second, the employee at the rec center that called it in said 5 employees were chasing the little girl and older male. It therefore came in as a high priority call, and if it HAD been legit, I know that any parent or grandparent would want as many Officers there as possible to make sure their kid is safe.

Second, some of these "arm chair lawyers" need to realize the difference between a detainment and an arrest. Both can involve handcuffs, and both cane be done for safety. Frankly, most people commenting need to chill and maybe salute the boys in blue instead of posting their usual ignorant drivel with little to no basis in reality.

I am glad you and the girl are safe. Maybe you should be thankful that just the POSSIBILITY it was a kidnapping warranted a strong and immediate response. I'm sure if it had been actual, and only two cops responded (since everyone seems so focused on the number there), you might have an issue with that.

Phelps said...

Failure to ID is only when you are detained or arrested. After the deputy constable told him he was free to go, he was no longer required to ID. You have to have some sort of probable cause to detain someone; they had none.

Anonymous said...

Okay, for those of you who blame Scott for failing to give his name...

The police should realized that some people believe in their rights to be left alone so they should not automatically assume that someone who knows those rights and chooses to assert them is a criminal. In fact, most criminals readily give a name; may not be the correct one, but they give one. Most criminals don't know their rights. So, those of you who say this was reason for the cops to be more suspicous are just wrong.

Should the cops have detained Scott and checked out the situation? Sure. Should they have done it in a more reasonalbe manner? Definitely.

The person who said Austin apparently has two many cops was right. Even if Scott had been a kidnapper, they could have handled him with half the number of officers they had there. I've never met Scott but I assume he's not so intimdating that they would think it would take a small army to take him down.

No matter how you spin it, this was handled badly by the cops. I don't know what it is they are doing to recruit these officers but the mentality many of them have these days is disturbing. Apparently, having some common sense disqualifies you from being a police officer. They need to start educating these morons that people in this country do have rights and just because someone chooses to exercise them doesn't mean they are a criminal. A correct response on the constable's part would have been to acknowledge that Scott had the right not to answer her questions and then to attempt to continue the conversation in a friendly manner. People skills is another thing that seems to be a disqualification for police work.

I've said before there are two many Barneys and not enough Andys in police work these days. I really doubt Andy would make it in most departments, but they would love Barney.

jimbino said...

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I early learned that cops are your enemy and never your friend.

The sad truth is that children are far more likely to be abused and kidnaped by folks they know and are related to than by strangers.

Even sadder is the fact that cops themselves are more likely to abuse family members than folks of the general public.

Anonymous said...

"Second, some of these "arm chair lawyers" need to realize the difference between a detainment and an arrest. Both can involve handcuffs, and both cane be done for safety"

Hey, 3:31, were they dealing with Rambo here? Give me a break? All those officers and Scott was such a threat to their safety? Why can't you just admit your fellow officers handled the situation poorly. Was it a situation that needed to be handled? Yes. Did it need to be handled in the manner it was? No.

A friend said...

Scott

I believe that the officer(s) who took the child into the police vehicle committed an assault against her. If they picked her up without your permission, took her by the arm and pulled her to the car, that constitutes an assault. (Just imagine if you had done the same to the constable!!!!). The used force applied to the person (body) of a child without permission and without probable cause that the child was a miscreant!

Similarly detaining you the second time was an offense, because it was based on the first officer's decision to ignore the child's statement and to have you detained for failure to provide her with your name, even though you were not required to do so.

From your report, they used excessive force to handcuff you, causing pain. That is an offense as well.

Finally, they interfered with the lawful custody of a child in your possession, separating the child from you, against the will of the child and against your will, without cause. They could have questioned the child in your presence.

It also proves that the APD does racial profiling. The alleged call about a bunch of people chasing you is hoked up by the APD to cover their large glutes.

Anonymous said...

Folks, FWIW - those that have read/followed GFB for any length of time know good and well that 'Grits' is not anti-cop and works for the IPOT. An organization run by some very badass legal eagles. Rest assured the legal issues are being covered.
I commend him for refraining from the temptaion to reply to the good, the bad and the ugly comments/advice.

While the good is most likely appreciated, the bad should be ignored and the ugly deserves deletion and IP banning/blocking (or) revisiting the rethinking of allowing untracable Anonymous thoughts. Nevertheless - Today, some have learned valuable lessons, some have taught us additional lessons while some have/will personally relate to it (Anons. included).

Those 'new' to the GFB Blog are directed to read twice before commenting. The 'story' clearly indicates there was no crime in progress once the human child claimed her human grandfather. No crime equates to, no need for an incident report (unless it was derived via 911 or an eyewitness made a report). Thus allowing/assuming the concerned authorities to move on to the next situation. We will learn the call came from the rightfully concerned human Constable who felt she was embarrassed & 'Dissed' by a man.

The stink begins when the 'posse' showed up in force due to half boredom, half testrone with a dab of we'll show him not to diss a sister in baggy browns. Scott's a grown man and know's his and our rights and can tell when one is being checked out vs harrassed. His personal experience(s) will lead to better officer training and hopefully the taxpayers will pay the price and demand accountability.

*I was 'kidnapped' by both of my parents, have searched for lost pets and learned about not having any money in your pockets while in public. Which led to inventing T-shirts with children/grandchildren/pets images. Family photo on the reverse and water-proof pocket for receipts of places visited, attorney business cards and $5. bucks to disprove vagrancy. If it were only that easy. Next?

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that you call taking care of your granddaughter "babysitting." That really says volumes about the relationship between the two of you. It also strikes me that every single poster here, whether sympathetic or not, seems to believe your side of the story and your perception of the events 100%.

Anonymous said...

Cops = Scum of the Earth.

Thanks for providing more evidence.

Anonymous said...

Cops = Scum of the Earth.

Thanks for providing more evidence.

Anonymous said...

Bah, I should have known better than to try to speak common sense to these kind of civilians. For those that always judge and cast stone after atone, I dare you to sign up for a ride out. Cops do a lot for y'all, include putting il with idiots. Oh, and the genius that thanks the kid was a victim of assault hy contact? Wow, even Travis County wouldn't let you oractuce law

Phelps said...

It also strikes me that every single poster here, whether sympathetic or not, seems to believe your side of the story and your perception of the events 100%.

Why shouldn't I? I've certainly seen more cops lie under oath than average citizens.

Anonymous said...

It strikes me that you call taking care of your granddaughter "babysitting." That really says volumes about the relationship between the two of you. It also strikes me that every single poster here, whether sympathetic or not, seems to believe your side of the story and your perception of the events 100%.

2/12/2012 03:48:00 PM

Yeah, like cops never lie. Based on what I've seen, cops as a group are more dishonest than the general population. Sure, there are lots of honest cops, but in general the profession seems to attract power hungry sociopaths. So, I'd believe Scott anyday over the average cop. If you don't like the fact that people think this way, start pushing for your buddy's who lie to be fired and prosecuted. Clean up your profession if you expect it to be respected.

Anonymous said...

"Bah, I should have known better than to try to speak common sense to these kind of civilians."

Perfect example of the us against them mentality that is so problematic. I bet your last name is Fife.

Anonymous said...

I see a bunch of ignorant sheep bleating until they need the sheepdogs. Never mind the call info (little girl crying and screaming, struggling against olderman who was leading her into the woods while being chased by employees), nope its the cops who are lying. I pray y'all never need us, but I know some of y'all will sooner or later. Maybe when you do call, tell us how you feel so we can decide whether or not to help you. We swore an oath, and will be there, but id rather have you sweat about. You self righteous ignorant morons make me sick. You have none of our training or experience, have never saved a life and maybe a few.of you have been shot at. For shame. I put my ass on the line for you, and I expect nothing in return. To be insulted constantly is bearable, but I suggest going on ride alongsil, asking questions, and educating yourself prior to speaking out of your anal cavities so readily

Phelps said...

And I see a bunch of hyenas, hiding behind anonymity, who don't even rise to the level of wolf, much less sheepdog.

I'm a sheepdog, and I don't call you until it is already over so you can come out and make your report. That is all you would be doing anyways, so I'm better off not waiting for you to be too late before solving the problem.

Anonymous said...

"You have none of our training or experience, have never saved a life and maybe a few.of you have been shot at. For shame."

Wrong again. I was a cop. I got out of it because I was disgusted with what I saw. I saw first hand fellow officers lie. Like the other commenter, if I need you it will be after its over just to write the report.

Let me ask you - how many times have you committed perjury, or simply lied in a report? How many times have you covered for fellow officers? Come on, be honest.

Anonymous said...

Having been a resident of TexasS for just over 20 years I am NOT surprised that this happened! I came to this state because of my job. As soon as I can I will be leaving because of the lunatics in positions of authority.

polscigrad said...

Why are people calling Grits, Scott?

Anonymous said...

She got the right lesson: you can't trust the police.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry this has happened and more than once to you, it seems the police are quickly becoming domestic terrorists, I'm not afraid of the Taliban but deathly afraid of the police destroying my family or killing me over something harmless like an evening walk or a joint smoked or _____insert thing there.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Holy crap, there were maybe a dozen comments when I last looked on here!!

I can't respond to all this, but I'm fascinated by 3:31's comment who said "I was working that night." That person says:

"the call came in to the dispatcher that a little girl was screaming, crying, and yelling for help, and struggling against a man who seemed intent on walking away with her. Second, the employee at the rec center that called it in said 5 employees were chasing the little girl and older male."

Maybe that's what the dispatcher said, but all of that is a lie. No screaming kid, no struggling, no five employees chasing - even the constable seemed tentative and walked instead of running after us. Certainly CCTV at the rec center would back me up. I wasn't planning on asking APD for more detail about the incident, but now I think I will if only to find out if that piece of anonymous BS is true.

That said, to be honest, I doubt filing a complaint would do any good because I don't think they broke any rules. In this neighborhood APD responds to nearly every incident with overwhelming force. They had the right to do it so they did, and under the law my role is supposed to be to shut up and take it, at least until the incident is over and I get back to my computer.

Also, those who say the person calling in was to blame are right on the money - especially if the bogus story mentioned above is what was called in (somehow I doubt it, though - anonymous commenters aren't the most reliable source). A flaky, a-hole accuser was an element in the first instance, too. Last year the crackhead who'd reported my first "babysitting while white" offense came up to me to apologize and said she was the one who'd called the cops me and Ty back in 2008. My response can't be published in a family setting, but suffice it to say I blame ALL the various fools whose leaping to assumptions contributed to this, whether they were wearing a uniform or not. Law enforcement is at its worst when it's an agent of the mob.

To those who think I should have given more information to the constable, if she thought I was a danger to the kid she could have detained me. I left with her permission; if she had detained me I'd have complied.

I forwarded the post to Chief Art Acevedo, and I'll post his reply, which just came in, as an update to the post.

llano said...

Officer, please answer the question posed to you. How many times have you lied in a report?
Bunches (but justified) right?

A friend said...

When I was in law school, an AUSA said that the prosecutors in federal court must be very careful in questioning police officers in court so as not to elicit false testimony from them, which they would willingly give. Like not asking them about details that were not in the report, because the police officer would not remember anything not in his report by the time it got to trial, but would answer so as to "help" the prosecution. He did say that the person most likely in a case to testify falsely was the police officer, generally because the alleged perp rarely testified.

Daniel Simon said...

Anon 3:30..you are obviously a brain-less cop who never read the statute.

You write: "Actually the fail to ID you speak of is a class b or a (if a fugitive) misdemeanor. There is a class c misdemeanor of fail to ID. Which entails refusing to give your name and information if legally detained."

ACTUALLY you idiot the failure to ID statute reads:

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information.
(b) A person commits an offense if he intentionally gives a false or fictitious name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has:
(1) lawfully arrested the person;
(2) lawfully detained the person; or
(3) requested the information from a person that the peace officer has good cause to believe is a witness to a criminal offense.
(c) Except as provided by Subsections (d) and (e), an offense under this section is:
(1) a Class C misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)

So dimwit...if a person is lawfully ARRESTED and refuses to give name, residence OR date of birth..they are violating the statute..AND per (b) if they are "lawfully detained" (debatable in Scot's case) they are not required to give any information...BUT commit an offense if they (voluntarily)give FALSE info!!!

MAYBE YOU CAN GO TAKE SOME REMEDIAL READING COURSE...or print it out and read it very s l o w l y!!!

Unless you are a fugitive either refusing to ID when LAWFULLY ARRESTED and asked by giving name and ONE of the other two pieces of info is a Class C misdemeanor AND if you are simply being LAWFULLY DETAINED you do not have to ID at all....but if you chose to do so...best tell the truth.

I bet you have arrested people who simply didn't click their heels and sieg heil when you stopped them on some sort of fishing expedition and asked them to id...haven't you Stormfuhrer Anonymous?

So you see...you have just exposed yourself as a dumb ass cop who doesn't bother to even begin to study law before you misapply it to the public.


Daniel Simon

Daniel Simon said...

Continued to Anon at 3:30:

If you are APD you might study Chapter 543 of the Transportation Code (Arrest and Charging Procedures) and understand that every time you stop a citizen to harass them for not wearing a seat belt or dirty license plate or some other revenue enhancing victimless bullshit, you have arrested them and are releasing them on their promise to appear and the law prescribes rules you violate right on your ticket form.

In particular check out:

§ 543.006. TIME AND PLACE OF APPEARANCE. (a) The time
SPECIFIED in the notice to appear must be at least 10 days after the
date of arrest unless the person arrested DEMANDS an earlier
hearing.
(b) The place SPECIFIED in the notice to appear must be
before a magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense who is in the
municipality or county in which the offense is alleged to have been
committed.

"on or before" some date as on your ticket is not SPECIFIC (I know that is more than three syllables so try to get a literate friend to help you) and your tickets choice of there sheep shearing locations is not "the place SPECIFIED either. (have some educated friend explain singular and plural construction to you)

then you can read:

§ 543.008. VIOLATION BY OFFICER. A violation by an
officer of a provision of Sections 543.003-543.007 is misconduct in
office and the officer is subject to removal from the officer's
position.

Wow every uniformed revenue generating "tool" working APD traffic violates 543.006 a+b on every ticket they write each day...and is guilty or "misconduct in office" (Official Misconduct) and is "subject to removal from it's position".

But don't worry you bring in so much extortion for the city that no one is ever going to prosecute or fire you Mr. Meter Maid!!

And the public you victimize and sheer don't know your for the crook you are...but resent the hell out of you anyway.

And the cussing out the cop business? The "cop" was this big stuffed pussy named Michael Scheffler with D.P.S.

This Uber-tool brags about having written tickets to each of his neighbors...and stopped me 14 times and wrote me a total of 34 tickets of which I beat all but one.

Last couple of times he stopped me, I called him the stupidest son of a bitch and biggest asshole I have ever met.

No one I know that knows him would be offended and most would agree.

Texas cops are so stupid that they do not even enforce a felony that happens hundreds if not thousands of times a week in Wilco/Travis...called Interference with Child Custody Penal Code 25.03.

Instead they let corrupt DAs like John Bradley tell them to lie to the public and tell them "this is not a crime...but civil"

You can read about that one on my website http://www.wilcoshysterbuster.com

under "don't enforce that felony"

and about Bradley under "biggest criminal in Wilco"

AND lastly, presuming you are (impersonating) a Texas Peace Officer, you can read about the Oath required by federal law that you have not taken, thus depriving you and all your buddies and buddettes of any lawful authority to do a damn thing!

Daniel Simon

Anonymous said...

Maybe the cops were just tired and overworked from their "conflict of interest" moonlighting jobs...

Anonymous said...

I would suggest you considering taking a free consultation with a civil rights attorney.

You may very well have grounds for a legitimate lawsuit against the PD for unlawful detainment, harassment, and racial discrimination.

Let the attorney read your blog post as a starter, and take it from there.

Daniel Simon said...

Wow Anon 2/12/2012 04:03:00 PM you state:

Anonymous said...

"nope its the cops who are lying. I pray y'all never need us, but I know some of y'all will sooner or later."
"We swore an oath, and will be there" You have none of our training or experience"

All anyone has to do is Google "testilying" to find out about who lies most...and it is unheard of for a cop to be prosecuted for perjury anyway...so stop trying to kid anyone. Office Coleman who made up testimony that sent dozens to prison for years was Officer of the Year...Highly Decorated and ultimately got probation for all his perjury!

You may have taken your TEXAS Constitutional Oath and Statement of Elected Appointed Officer...but you have not taken the Oath found at 4 U.S.C. Section 101 and filed it as required by Section 102...so everything you do is illegal!


I don't need nor do I want your "protection" and resent the fact that "laws" restrict my rights to protect myself...and force me to pay for your bloated salary and benefits.

If you get tired of being insulted turn in your corrupt buddies, stop harassing people for bullshit victim-less "crimes" and earn the respect of the people you are supposed to serve.

get it through your head that we are the MASTERS.... and you are the SERVANT or get another job.

Daniel Simon
2/12/2012 04:03:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:03 had the arrogance and stupidity to say...
"I see a bunch of ignorant sheep bleating until they need the sheepdogs. Never mind the call info (little girl crying and screaming, struggling against olderman who was leading her into the woods while being chased by employees), nope its the cops who are lying. I pray y'all never need us, but I know some of y'all will sooner or later. Maybe when you do call, tell us how you feel so we can decide whether or not to help you. We swore an oath, and will be there, but id rather have you sweat about. You self righteous ignorant morons make me sick. You have none of our training or experience, have never saved a life and maybe a few.of you have been shot at. For shame. I put my ass on the line for you, and I expect nothing in return. To be insulted constantly is bearable, but I suggest going on ride alongsil, asking questions, and educating yourself prior to speaking out of your anal cavities so readily."

First, the call had been handled by the deputy constable, remember? Having been addressed by the deputy, either APD's response was flat out harassment (and therefore possibly criminal) or you and your peers have some screwed up communications between you. You chose your poison. Now as for the lying, when it comes to covering up a cop's screw-up, none do it more frequently than a cop. Not necessarily better, just more frequently. And having disciplined numerous law enforcement officers over the years, I'm not speaking out of any anal cavity, boyo.

Now for putting your ass on the line for me, you lie. Can I make it any simpler? You put your ass on the line for yourself. You took the job for the excitement, the damn good pay, the outstanding pension and medical and for the prestige you thought you would find in the position. That's why you do the job. You know it as well as I do; it's why I did it, too. (And probably whine about socialism in the locker room yet look forward to your government pension; go figure.)

You're like a pit bull in the backyard of a seamy neighborhood home; needed but not trusted - just as likely to attack my 5 year old as you are to attack the potential burglar.

When you get the maturity to understand the difference between being a prick and being a professional cop (and there are numerous ones on the streets but based on your rant you don't qualify), I'll show you the respect a professional deserves, otherwise you're just another junkyard dog.

If you want to talk to me personally about anything I've mentioned, I'm sure Scott would be more than happy to coordinate a meeting. More than happy to oblige. :~)

Anonymous said...

If they *really* thought that a kid had been kidnapped, the proper thing to do would have been to find out as quickly as possible if they had the right kid/kidnapper so that if not they could get to work finding the right guy. The officer time wasted on chasing a dead end could have been spent finding the real kidnapper if there was one.

Which makes me think they're either stupid or lying. Probably stupid.

Iuconnu said...

My occasional interactions with police over the years have convinced me that crime is far down in the list of priorities for them. Control is at the top of the list followed closely by respect - toward them, of course. They blather endlessly about officer safety but it's obvious that they are not the ones in danger. At this point I can't imagine what it would take to make me call the cops but it may be that I will never in my life see a situation that could be improved by taking that risk.

Anonymous said...

You're her grandfather or godfather? This happened in 2008?

Peter Principle said...

Wow, that's a mightily impressive collection of foolishness and FUD you've got, Scott, along with a precious few grains of wisdom. Never underestimate the powerful compulsion of the ignorant to pontificate on that which they know entirely not shit. With tongue in cheek and wit honed, let's shoot down a few representative comments, in order of posting. Part 1.....

"The moment you were cuffed, you lost your right to refuse to cooperate and go about your business. That is the definition of an "arrest".

No, being cuffed is not the definition of arrest. It's the definition of detained, an entirely different legal animal.

"You need to find a good attorney and file a federal civil rights suit against them to keep them from doing it again to you or anyone else."

It's always a good idea to consult an attorney on legal issues, but as to a lawsuit, the first requirement is to prove real damages. Nothing in the story indicates recoverable damages.

"you need to file and obtain the videos form the patrol cars"

Good idea, but in general police dash cams, while always live, can only record the last 30 seconds of video, and then only after the officer has hit the "save" button. Some cams activate automatically on activation of lights or other cues, but they still have a very limited capability to save video.

"Just to step back and consider another perspective here. Didn't law enforcement miss opportunities to intervene in the abductions of both Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard?"

Just step back and consider another perspective here. We know what happened here, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with Elizabeth Smart or Jaycee Dugard. Conflation is legally meaningless, other than as evidence of a weak and lazy mind. Only the evidence IN THIS CASE is in any way germane.

"An awful experience, to be sure, but don't you think if you'd just told the 1st officer your name when asked that would have been the end of it?"

Yes, if only he'd waved his inalienable rights and submitted to the unwarranted intrusion of authority, everything would have been just peachy. It's true, things would almost certainly have gone better in this instance, but it's also true that a pattern of successful infringements will lead to a pattern or more infringements.

"As soon as they ran your name they knew this has happened before, and knew Ty's name and where you lived. They knew everything about the previous encounter."

By using their magic police Way Back Machine, perhaps? Or do you think it's all stored in the ginormous super computers all cops carry with them? That's paranoid kook hooey. In a word, no, they most certainly would NOT know about a minor incident from 2 years before that resulted in no arrests or any other type of enforcement action.

Peter Principle said...

Part 2...

step 1 in the discovery phase would be to check the 911 call records to see if such a report was made, by whom and when, and to get the recording of the call.

"Seems like you were looking for a fight because you were pissed about the last run-in."

Seems like some stupid bleepholes just can't help but fart contrarian nonsense about that which they know entirely not shit...

"Seriously. Someone ( not a cop) reported a kidnapping. When the cops responded aggressively( how do you think they should respond?) you are hostile and evasive. Persecution complex? Drama queen? Get over yourself ."

Seriously, you've seen this report, have you? Or are you just pissing nonsense? You are stupid and ignorant. What a charming pairing! Foam duck? Bleephole? STFU, moran, unless it is your intention to make a giant hairy ass of yourself, in which case, pip-pip, cheerio, carry on, yer doin' a heckuva job.

"My lawyer is a judge, and a former Assistant District Attorney. His advice? Never ever ever speak to the police without a lawyer present."

Excellent advice, assuming one is willing to be handcuffed and hauled away to the police station every time one interacts with a cop.

"I would disown my offspring if they produced a black child. I would not even consider spending time with a black grandchild. "

Awwww, poor lonely little racist f*cknut! All of these comments and only one ignorant stupid racist bleephole farting asinine hate? Not bad. Hey, racist bleephole, yooz shore izza lookin' smarterer! As far as you know...

"So the next time a child gets abducted, most people on this blog would prefer the cops worry more about being sued than recovering the child? Wonderful!"

So the next time no child has been abducted, nor any crime of any type committed, as is the case here, stupid bleepholes like you would prefer cops terrorize innocent people? Wonderful!

"Actually the fail to ID you speak of is a class b or a (if a fugitive) misdemeanor. There is a class c misdemeanor of fail to ID. Which entails refusing to give your name and information if legally detained."

Actually, he was never detained. Actually, you know not of what you speak. Actually, the next time you try to interpret statues about which you know nothing, you should actually start with the actual definitions of the actual terms actually used, which, actually, are either standard, as in this case, and can be found in any legal dictionary, or are specifically defined in the introduction to a given statute and actually labeled "DEFINITION OF TERMS."

Peter Principle said...

Part 3...

"It was the citizen who called in a kidnapping that started this."

Perhaps. What citizen call? There is no evidence here of any citizen call, other than the verbal claim by the on scene officer, who would have no way of actually knowing first hand about such a call. Assumptions bear no weight. Were a lawsuit to be filed, step 1 in the discovery process owuld be to obtain all call records, reports, video, etc.

"I believe that the officer(s) who took the child into the police vehicle committed an assault against her. If they picked her up without your permission, took her by the arm and pulled her to the car, that constitutes an assault."

I believe you have absolutely no knowledge of pertinent law whatsoever, as no, of course the cops actions don't constitute assault. I suggest that, as limiting as it may be, in the future you try to limit your expert advice to subjects about which you know, say, anything at all.

"It strikes me that you call taking care of your granddaughter "babysitting." That really says volumes about the relationship between the two of you. It also strikes me that every single poster here, whether sympathetic or not, seems to believe your side of the story and your perception of the events 100%."

Why, what do they call it in Lower Wingnuttia, tot tending? FYI, ya frickin' moran, the number one, most universally known, used and understood word for caring for a child is, wait for it... BABYSITTING! Your dismissive attitude and subliterate boobery says volumes about your soft and facile mind, as does the irony deficiency that prevents you from realizing that arbitrarily NOT believing his story, in lieu of any other evidence, is actually far more stupid than what you suggest to be less than smart. Congratulations! You really are "special"!

The most sensible thing to do here, Scott, as a few others have pointed out, is first, file a complaint with both APD and the Austin civilian police monitor. This step will serve to protect any evidence that exists, like 911 records, dash cam video, reports, etc. The next step is consult with a good attorney to decide if further legal action is warranted and likely to succeed. You might also want to keep in mind that anything you write here can and may become evidence in any future legal proceedings.

Anonymous said...

I find the downright racist anonymous comments on this post just as offensive and socially dangerous as Scott and Ty's encounter with the police.

I was working in Germany when Bush Jr was first campaigning for president, so all of Europe was looking very closely at Texas politics. The #1 question I was asked, being a Texan, was why "Bush killed so many n*gg*rs." Yes, they thought that was the common and acceptable word for African Americans (thank you entertainment media). How do you explain such a societal problem to people in just a few sentences? Needless to say, its embarrassing to have to explain a racism problem to people from a society that we occupied after their own (much more severe) racial problems just a couple of generations ago. They learned a lot from their experiences... Certainly enough to realize how hypocritical we are about our own social imperfections.

Its a shame that this happened to Scott and Ty, but imho its a general intolerance at the root of the problem that causes horrible situations like this and so many more.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous posting on 2/12/2012 at 07:30:00 PM who wrote...

"Anonymous said... You're her grandfather or godfather? This happened in 2008?"

Teh stupid! It burns! Hey, jeenyuss, here's a few, um, hints in the form of QUOTES from the very beginning of the OP...

"Saturday, February 11, 2012"

"...after my granddaughter and I..."

"Last night, though, Ty and I got the full jump-out-boys treatment..."

HELLO!? Nuff said? Next time try reading. Jaybus...

Anonymous said...

"You have none of our training or experience, have never saved a life and maybe a few.of you have been shot at. For shame. I put my ass on the line for you, and I expect nothing in return."

REALLY?!?!? You're a cop, and you're not getting paid for it? You're doing it wrong! Or, rather, you are so far gone that you don't even realize that you're not just entitled to the money for being such a hero "sheepdog". And you're not even in one of the top ten most dangerous professions. In fact, it's a safe bet that, if it's not the case already, at the rate we're going it will soon be the case that cops are killed in the line of duty far less often than they kill innocent civilians. But maybe, just maybe, the confrontational attitude and disproportional, ultimately cowardly use of force as a first resort on the part of cops is going to enrage those they "protect" sufficiently that you will crack that top ten as the "civilians" start shooting back when threatened, abused and assaulted by the cops sooner, and more often.

Or we could move away from the cop vs. civilian, urban military, occupying force mindset and back to police as "peace officers" who de-escalate violent situations. But if you insist on playing "us against them"...remember that there are a lot more of us.

Anonymous said...

"REALLY?!?!? You're a cop, and you're not getting paid for it?"

You take some anonymous nut's blog comment at his word that he's a cop and then use it to criticise all cops? REALLY?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Wow. You really hate the police huh? Nobody said they were the police in that reply by the way. Lol. Austin seems like the best place for you to live. Stay out of Houston. The cops here would love to meet you.

writerz said...

I have granddaughter who is part black, a grandson who is part mexican and a grandson who is white. We used to get all kinds of nasty looks when we went to the stores or to the park. Someday maybe people will grow up and leave others alone.

Anonymous said...

"Good idea, but in general police dash cams, while always live, can only record the last 30 seconds of video, and then only after the officer has hit the "save" button. Some cams activate automatically on activation of lights or other cues, but they still have a very limited capability to save video."

I've never seen a dashcam video as short as thirty seconds. There may be a few dashcams out there that work as you describe, but I don't believe it's close to the industry standard in 2012.

Anonymous said...

"You take some anonymous nut's blog comment at his word that he's a cop and then use it to criticise all cops? REALLY?!?!?

"Wow. You really hate the police huh? Nobody said they were the police in that reply by the way. Lol. Austin seems like the best place for you to live. Stay out of Houston. The cops here would love to meet you."

In the first comment, I am criticizing one guy who clearly wants readers to believe he is a cop, and seems to think he's doing it as a charitable act. I am not criticizing "all cops"; I know several good ones, and at least one great one. I am criticizing the dangerous trend of cops resorting to violence against those they're supposed to "protect and serve" in the name of "officer safety" and pointing out that as people become more fearful of this kind of conduct, it might actually make cops a lot less safe.

I'm not from anywhere near Austin or Houston, but the comment that "the cops here would love to meet you" implies that it's just perfectly cool for a cop to arrest, harass, beat or shoot someone who holds an opinion that a cop disagrees with...so thank you for making my point for me. THIS is the culture that needs changing.

Anonymous said...

maybe we need to have community police officers who actually know the neighborhoods and the people who live there? nah. that makes too much sense.
my sister has had similar experiences with her children (biological) who are half asian.
hate ignorance!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it only be reasonable suspicion instead of probable cause? Lower burden based on circumstances. PC to arrest vs reasonable suspicion to detain.

I'd still be as pissed off and scared like Grits was since my child is a different race from me. This whole scenario is a nightmare that worries me sick that it may some day happen to me and I am sorry to see it happened to another person. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

I was pulled over for an expired registration a few months ago by the sheriffs dept. the deputy was really nice until I asked him if he would create a positive experience for my daughter, because she had had a negative one before. That is when he noticed she is brown. I am a pale blond. He started askin if I had proof she was my daughter. I asked him if he had proof his children were his. Now my daughter (11) was in hysterics, wondering if he was going to take her away from me. This is the moment he stopped telling me I would appreciate his questions if she had been kidnapped. He didn't apologize, but did assure her I wasn't in trouble for the sticker, which is what I asked for in the first place. He didn't have an issue, and was totally nonchalant until he saw her color. All this from askin if he could help make her less fearful of cops.

Anonymous said...

True. And APD's policy is for them to be recording in this scenario anyway. Very modern system and some cops even carry a body camera.

Anonymous said...

Cops did their job in trying to protect a child. Suspect refuses to give his name. Suspect got investigated further. Suspect cries. *Yawn* Nothing further to see.

Anonymous said...

In response to the Anonymous 11:34 a.m., it's especially offensive to imply that Barack Obama, of all people, would endorse the harassment of a white grandfather who was looking after his interracial grandchild.

Anonymous said...

If the police had been notified that there was a kidnapping in the area, I don't see any issue with what took place. When the Ty was questioned, you said she mumbled a bit. As an outsider you can see that as a normal 5 yr old response or her being scared. She asked your name and you preferred not to tell her. Her running and you chasing could be seen as a sweet interaction or something a kidnapping situation could look like. This is a sick world we live in and I would much rather be detained and questioned to prove I am the true parent or grandparent than another child be kidnapped. Think of all the times where scared kidnapped children went unnoticed. Regardless of race, if a situation looks fishy, it should be investigated. If my mother sees a child walk into a store with their mom or dad and out of the store with another parent she will ask the parent and child to wait for the other parent, just to be sure. She would rather inconvenience a family than see a devastated family in the news. Just a thought.

Peter Principle said...

To Anonymous 2/12/2012 08:16:00 PM...

Luckily enough, whatever you happen to believe has absolutely effect whatsoever on reality. Most dash cams can only save video from 30 seconds *back*. No limit on now and forward, but if you engage your brain you might realize just how little help 30 seconds back would be here. Not to mention, dash cams have a limited field of view. Unless it happens to be pointing exactly in the right direction, you get squat. And, finally, had you the brains God gave boiled cabbage, you'd know that I've already given advice that would, indeed, preserve any and all dash cam video. But hey,thanks for the laughs...

And, BTW, jeenyus, no, "Anonymous" didn't say that. *I* said that. Duh, fricking' duh, duh, duh...




To Anonymous 2/12/2012 08:25:00 PM...

"Wow. You really hate the police huh? Nobody said they were the police in that reply by the way. Lol. Austin seems like the best place for you to live. Stay out of Houston. The cops here would love to meet you."

In the first comment, I am criticizing one guy who clearly wants readers to believe he is a cop, and seems to think he's doing it as a charitable act. I am not criticizing "all cops";"

Hoo, boy, talk about missing the point...

How frickin' stupid do you have to be before you think my comment is in any way indicative of hatred of the police in general or the officers in this specific case? Hint: It's not. Try reading it again, this time maybe using your finger to follow along might help...

Not to mention, strategical-type jeenyus, so, when you called cops "sheepdogs," you meant it in the best possible way, right? And when you said, "But maybe, just maybe, the confrontational attitude and disproportional, ultimately cowardly use of force as a first resort on the part of cops," you didn't really mean "cops" at all, right?



And, finally, moran, how spectacularly stupid must one be before one can read, "Maybe when you do call, tell us how you feel so we can decide whether or not to help you. We swore an oath, and will be there, but id rather have you sweat about. You self righteous ignorant morons make me sick. You have none of our training or experience, have never saved a life and maybe a few.of you have been shot at," and somehow NOT glean the fact that the writer is, indeed, claiming to be a cop? Is fork in the face stupid sufficient or must one go all the way to singularity-type, black hole stupid?

Former Public Servant said...

I've always noticed how hearing one side of such an encounter tends to villify the other side, regardless of which side it might be. Just as the news stories about child molestors bring out the "hang them high" comments before the first hearing is provided, so to are the "all cops are evil" stories full of embellishments more often than not. I respect that Scott had a tough time and whatever the specific facts might have been, I'll reserve judgement until both sides are given a decent chance to speak.

That said, it is a fantasy to think that any civil rights violation cases are slam dunk, especially one involving the circumstances as described. While it might warrant an investigation by APD or other body, the courts rarely over extend on handing away the cookie store because someone was offended or inconvenienced.

That is not a blanket approval of police behavior or of the opinion that people shouldn't cooperate with the police, just a time tested observation where the vast majority of claims fall well short of settlements or judgements involving money. And for those so inclined that they can do a better job than the existing APD (or other community police), by all means step up to the plate and apply for an opening. Keep in mind that the push to lower their total compensation via pension busting legislation is almost certainly going to make things a lot, lot worse (more qualified candidates will apply to the feds or places that they are more valued).

Mule Breath said...

Scott, I'm bailing from this thread. I'm liberal and a progressive, but there is no way I can support this kind of hatefulness. The tone has gotten so hateful and the volume so loud I'm having a difficult time digesting it all. The nuts from the wings really came out of the woodwork for this one.

Texpat said...

Grits,

I have my own stories I won't bore you with them today, but I do want to add my outrage to pile.

This was a disgusting and, unfortunately, common event with today's law enforcement. I don't buy the original officer's story about a call on a white man/black child kidnapping. I believe she let her typical hyper-heated imagination run wild and concocted the call story as cover.

I'm really sorry you got caught in this crossfire of official stupidity. I simply don't trust cops anymore, anywhere, at any level. These juiced up SWAT crazed fools around the country are truly dangerous.

And despite many of your commenters' assumptions, this kind of thing occurs all over the USA in blue states and red cities alike.

I wish you would sue the APD just to embarrass them.

Anonymous said...

I travel a lot and positively hate it when I need to go to Texas. The place is creepy. This is a sad story. In Texas, the police ARE the enemy.

Anonymous said...

"You have none of our training or experience"

you're right, I don't have your training.

I never had to sit for the G.E.D. exam.

The difference between most LEO's and a 5 yo is that one day the 5 yo growx up and can be taught calculus. You could never teach a gorilla, though.

Anonymous said...

Your blog article has made the widely read newspaper "The Daily Mail" in the United Kingdom.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2100270/Scott-Henson-victim-babysitting-white-stopped-police-black-granddaughter.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

You mentioned that the police had the "right" to confront you in this situation. The police may have a "duty" to investigate; however, they do not have a "right" - you and your granddaughter are endowed with "rights" pursuant to the Constitution, not the police.

Anonymous said...

"Luckily enough, whatever you happen to believe has absolutely effect whatsoever on reality. Most dash cams can only save video from 30 seconds *back*. No limit on now and forward, but if you engage your brain you might realize just how little help 30 seconds back would be here. Not to mention, dash cams have a limited field of view. Unless it happens to be pointing exactly in the right direction, you get squat. And, finally, had you the brains God gave boiled cabbage, you'd know that I've already given advice that would, indeed, preserve any and all dash cam video. But hey,thanks for the laughs..."

Yes, Peter Principle (which IS a great handle, by the way), we know you were the one who posted what I quoted. But I, who was Anonymous, was the one who quoted it, which is why it said "Anonymous" at the top of the post. Hopefully you understand dashcams better than web commenting systems.

How much video can be saved from before the camera was told to record is irrelevant--digital video systems can retain many hours of video once they're running. A casual search for info on Google found RFPs for systems holding a minimum of 136 hours. And the cameras should be running, recording and saving video when in the midst of an incident like this one. You're right about the limited field of view of each camera, but if all eight cars had cameras running there's enough of a chance that one of them captured something worthwhile to justify a request that the video be preserved.

The request isn't to save video from "30 seconds back"; it's to make sure that anything that WAS captured when the cameras were turned on and told to record isn't overwritten or deleted either in the normal course of future recording, or deliberately, to dispose of documentation of the encounter.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, Peter Principle, who is this moran person you keep yelling about? Is it Erin Moran? 'Cause I loved her on Happy Days.

Anonymous said...

You can always tell from these comments folks that have experienced the police in a situation. The cops are out of control. We have the highest paid cops in Texas and the attitude from these officers is really sad. Doubters only need to wait until they are harassed or one of their kids is stopped to see this. Bet you the video was erased by a members of the union.

Peter Principle said...

"Yes, Peter Principle (which IS a great handle, by the way)..."

Thanks. You'd think with a nick like that most people would get that joke. You'd think wrong...

"How much video can be saved from before the camera was told to record is irrelevant--digital video systems can retain many hours of video once they're running."

Er, so your point is it doesn't matter when the recording begins? Um, wow... Following your train of logic to its inevitable flaming wreck, video that begins an hour after the incident is over is, um, relevant, is it? Interesting...

Police dash cam video systems run on a loop. They record continuously, but only save the last 30 seconds of video unless otherwise manually or automatically triggered, period, EOS, move the bleep on. Having worked on the firmware that runs the virtually all of these units, I know of what I speak. You are free, however, to believe whatever you wish, as, once again, what you choose to believe has absolutely no effect whatsoever on reality.

"And by the way, Peter Principle, who is this moran person you keep yelling about?"

Your Boogle groken, is it? Here, allow me...

http://0.tqn.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/n/U/moran.jpg

See? Facts are facts, and I stand by the facts I've presented, but the rest of it isn't meant to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

As someone who DOES NOT defend cops (NO ONE needs policing more than the police), I must play devil's advocate here. People are encouraged to report things like this because of the one time they *do* save a kid from being kidnapped. I know it's awful, and I hate it, but the parent of someone who's child was taken from them because no one bothered to say anything would argue that a half an hour of your time to straighten things out wasn't too much. Though the cops should definitely have apologized and explained the situation to the girl and why they had to check it out. I would hope that someone would report anyone of any race chasing a child of any race. If it's just a "get back here, don't run into the road!" kind of deal, fine, but the one time it isn't...

Anonymous said...

Oh and here are some legal definitions to clear up the confusion. A detention is an arrest!!!

[B]DETAIN:[/B] To retain as the possession of personalty. First Nat. Bank v. Yocom, 96 Or. 438, 189 P. 220, 221. [B]To arrest, to check, to delay, to hinder, to hold, or keep in custody, to retard, to re strain from proceeding, to stay, to stop.[/B] People v. Smith, 17 Cal.App.2d 468, 62 P.2d 436, 438. (Blacks Law 4th Ed, Pg 535)

[B]ARREST:[/B] [B]To deprive a person of his liberty by legal authority. Taking, under real or assumed authority, custody of another for the purpose of holding or detaining him to answer a criminal charge or civil demand.[/B] Ex parte Sherwood, 29 Tex.App. 334, 15 S.W. 812. Physical seizure of person by arresting officer or submission to officer's authority and control is necessary to constitute an "arrest." Thompson v. Boston Pub. Co., 285 Mass. 344, 189 N.E. 210, 213. It is a restraints however slight, on another's liberty to come and go. Turney v. Rhodes, 42 Ga.App. 104, 155 S.E. 112. [B]It is the taking, seizing or detaining the person of another, touching or putting hands upon him in the execution of process, or any act indicating an intention to arrest.[/B] U. S. v. Benner, Bald. 234, 239, Fed.Cas.No.14,568; State v. District Court of Eighth Judicial Dist. in and for Cascade County, 70 Mont. 378, 225 P. 1000, 1001; Hoppes v. State, 105 P.2d 433, 439, 70 Okl.Cr. 179.(Blacks Law 4th Ed, Pg 140)

Anonymous said...

He's just claiming to be her grandfather. Not true.

Groovenstein said...

Scott: Let's see, we have you, a blogger who hates cops for a living or at least a past time and you are just lucky enough to get hassled by the Gestapo incarnate....... I would LOVE to hear the FULL story without the self-aggrandizement and handy story line.

As a retired cop not from Texas, I have this vision of your smart mouth buying trouble so you can claim victimhood.

Ever the cynic (but proven correct more often than not), I am betting any normal person might offer to show a photo of your granddaughter, and shame on you if you don't have several in your wallet! The cops may have been clutzy and inept, but they had the little girl's best interest in mind. Next time, don't be such an asshole, get off your anti-cop pedestal and see how well that works. Of course, that route won't sell any books or inflame the sensitivity of Nimrods like Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

What's the point of posting citations you obviously don't understand? Your own citation proves merely being handcuffed during an investigation is not the same as being arrested, which, by your own citation, means to detain "...to answer a criminal charge or civil demand." No charges, criminal or otherwise, therefore no arrest, EOS.

Toestubber said...

People who want to engage in flame wars ought to come up with a personal handle instead of clicking "Anonymous." There are now several Anonymouses on this thread, and most of you folks using the same name seem to be flabbergasted that your precious words could be misattributed, or the conversation hard to follow. Here's a clue - we don't know whom is who.

Peter Principle said...

Handcuffing is not being put under arrest. Example: A few years back I called the cops when some crazy guy woke me up by banging on the side of my house at 3:30 am and yelling, "Open up, Michael, you motherbleeper, or I'll kill you." I live alone. My name is not Michael. But it didn't seem the time to debate the issue, so I called 911. While I was on the phone with 911, crazy guy cuts the padlock off of my breaker box and kills my power.

Within minutes a dozen squad cars close off the street and cops where everywhere, armed with laser sighted M4's (or maybe AR-15's or M16's). It took them a few minutes to secure the exterior. Later I found out another dozen cops were patrolling the neighborhood looking for crazy guy. The whole time I was still on the phone with 911.

Finally, the 911 operator asks me to let the cops know where I am. I shine a flashlight out of the window and flick it on and off a few times. She tells me they see the light. Then she tells me they think they see someone on my front porch. I tell her it's not me and there's no one else in the house. She asks me to shine the light again and I do. They ask again if someone is on the porch and I tell them not as far as I know. A few minutes pass.

Next the 911 operator asks me what I'm wearing, then tells me they've secured the exterior and to go outside. It's 3:30 in the morning. Crazy guy woke me up. I'm wearing a bathrobe. I walk outside, still on the phone with 911, into the face of bright lights, a dozen assault rifles and a cop yelling at me to put my hands up. I put my hands up and show the phone, saying, "I'm the 911 caller and I'm still on the phone with 911 right now."

I barely get this out before a cop leaps from hiding to my right and slaps the phone out my hand. This causes the front of my robe to open, fully exposing me in nothing but my birthday suit. They scream at me to keep my hands up as I tie my robe, then another cop leaps from hiding on the other side and handcuffs me. I try to explain to him that I'm the 911 caller and if they just check the phone they'll see, but he's having none of it. He hustles me out to behind the cars and holds on to the handcuffs behind my back.

A few more minutes goes by, as do a few staring neighbors. I stand there patiently, cuffed and in my bathrobe, and encourage the cops to,"Go get him." After a few more minutes the cop holding the cuffs decides on his own that I'm not a threat and takes them off. He hands me back my cell phone and they ask me to tour the property. Crazy guy broke a window and the padlock - cut with bolt cutters - is right under the breaker box. Otherwise, nothing.

Bottom line, I was thrilled the cops took it so seriously and showed up so quickly. I was less thrilled about being held in handcuffs in plain view of my neighbors for 5 minutes. I felt they'd over reacted, but I also understood why. They made clear to me that at no time was I under arrest and that they had needed to detain my for their safety and mine. Fair enough.

And so it is in almost all situations. Cuffing is not arresting. Reading Miranda rights is not arresting. Arresting is arresting.

sunray's wench said...

For those advocating that Scott sues the police, have you not understood that YOU pay for the police so eventually YOU will be footing the bill if Scott won his case? That doesn't seem to sit with the usual Texas mentality of "I don't want to give anyone else my money or pay taxes". Too many legal suits lost and the taxes will go up to cover them.

So sueing may not be the answer, but filing a complaint and following it up is.

And I suspect the Daily Mail would have taken a much diferent slant if Scott had been black and his granddaughter white.

Anonymous said...

While it was rough on you, I prefer the cops to double-check in cases like these. To be honest, the way you describe the first encounter with one officer, I would have had a funny feeling as well. The child uncomfortable, not speaking up, you refusing to give your name, ... I can't know the reason, is it me or is it you. Think about how they would have felt if indeed there had been something wrong, and the cop would have let it go down. What would you have said if you saw it in the news "Cops let kidnapper take child found dead this morning". Just saying..

Anonymous said...

I like you

Anonymous said...

Scott,
I, like so many others who have responded, am so sorry that this happened to you and your granddaughter.
I feel, however, that you have an obligation to her to educate her that not all policemen/women are bad -racist-whatever.
I suggest that you and she go to APD headquarters and tell them your story. Then, ask for her to have some time with several police officers to discuss her experience so that she may be able to get some perspective on this.
And ask for a tour of the facilities. It is fun and educational for children!

She is entirely too young to have a disparaging attitude toward the police! She needs to be able to maintain her innocence until she is old enough to fully understand all aspects of a situation, and to develop her own opinions.
We do our children no favors when we allow them to blindly follow us!

Anonymous said...

You never explained why you refused to give the first cop your name. It was a reasonable question, and if you'd complied with the request then none of the rest would have happened.

File your complaint in front of the nearest mirror.

Anonymous said...

"I'd like her to view police as people she can trust instead of threats to her and her family, but it's possible I live in the wrong neighborhood for that."

Increasingly, it's the wrong country you're living in, not the wrong neighborhood.

You need to find a very good attorney who can file a very expensive civil rights lawsuit against APD and the individual officers involved. Yes, it will be taxpayer's money when you win, and not come directly from the chief's pocket, but burdening the citizens with that expense - and, make no mistake, it should be a very large expense - will provide leverage to replace several of the cops at the top of that agency with others who won't cost the city of Austin so much money in the future.

It's important to proceed with that, because financial leverage can be used to affect change. If APD, and other agencies acting like that, do not change their attitudes and behavior, all other means of affecting change are a great deal more unpleasant for all involved.

Mike said...

It's too bad it got out of control, but seems like giving the the first cop your name/info would have avoided the whole thing... Not wanting to answer any questions would have made me suspicious too.

In some of the other cases mentioned above, I'm pretty sure the kidnapped kid(s) were compelled to agree with or say what the captor told them... We give up some freedom/rights for security.

Sorry it happened, but maybe you and they will handle it better next time.

Anonymous said...

Here in australia, there is a "Cops" show set in Kalgoorlie, a hard-nosed mining town. In one episode, someone calls in an aboriginal man walking with a child in a nearby bushland area.

One cop walked out to investigate. He called to the man to stop, walked up to him, asked him his name, his relation to the child, what they're doing out, all very conversational. Confirming the story with his stepchild, he wished them both a good day and sent them on their way.

Anonymous said...

The truth of being a cop dammed if you do dammed if you don't

Katherine said...

Jeepers. NINE cars? Must have been a very slow day. My teenage sister and her friends (half a dozen people) only got a four car response for hanging out in a public park after midnight (and no, the park wasn't "closed")

Anonymous said...

There are two or more sides to every story. I'd be interested to hear the LE side. Had Scott been a sex offender and the police not taken the time to question those involved then this message board would have hated the officers for that when the child was assaulted or killed. I'm glad the officers took the time to look into the matter and be damned who is offended. Individuals are too easily offended now days. Get over it!!!

Anonymous said...

Sue the fuckers

Loretta Nall said...

Good thing you have an easier time keeping your mouth shut than I do. Any interaction with a cop and I go into instant activist asshole mode. I cannot help myself.

Glad this turned out alright Scott. Do you plan to take any further action against the police department for traumatizing your granddaughter?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Hmmm, I see the APD trolls have finally found this string.

One item: I fail to understand why declining to answer the constable's questions justifies what happened afterward. If the deputy constable thought the child was in danger, why did she let me leave? The answer is, she knew full well that child was with me from Ty's behavior during our interaction. Besides, if she'd had my name, what would that tell her? My last name's different from hers. And since I couldn't prove the relationship no matter what I said, I saw (and see) nothing positive coming out of standing around answering pointless quesitons.

Also, I had pics of Ty in my wallet, but none of us together. That will now change to prevent Act 3 of this drama. Good idea, to the folks who suggested it.

Anyway, my view is that if police want to interrogate me they can do so in front of an attorney. And in this case, when I declined to answer questions (for just the reason I said - I was taking the child home to bed), the officer did not seek to stop me or suggest there was a problem with me leaving. But somehow I'm to blame? Frankly you're a fool if you answer questions from cops who suspect you of serious crimes without an attorney. Ask Anthony Graves, Charles Chatman, or Michael Morton. You have a right to remain silent when dealing with police and anybody with a lick of sense does exactly that. They clearly weren't there for my benefit.

To 3:26, I think for the time being I'm going to go light and not make this a bigger deal for Ty than we have to. If not all police are like the ones she's interacted with, presumably she'll run into others who will change her impression. But I don't want to blow smoke up her behind, either. When you live in East Austin, one's relationship with police is a little different from folks in Allandale or SoCo. That's the reality - she just got to experience it at a regrettably young age.

Also, for the record, I was not arrested. I was detained and cuffed (ostensibly) for the officers' protection, or at least that's the justification in the SCOTUS case that lets them do it. I was not mirandized, not booked, etc. ... this technically was a "detention," not an "arrest."

To the fellow who says I'm not Ty's grandfather, by blood that's technically true. But I raised her mother, from whom I receive Father's Day cards, and the child has called me "Grandpa" since she could talk. I've got news for you: When a toddler calls you their grandpa, you pretty much are, like it or not. Some things we don't choose in life.

Can't believe the London Daily Mail picked this up! I turned down local media for interviews but I never heard from the Mail - guess they just ran with it.

Finally, not only am I not going to sue the police, I doubt anyone even violated APD policies so a complaint wouldn't do much either - they're TRAINED to respond like that, which is my main beef with what happened. This wasn't a bug in the system, it's a feature.

Anonymous said...

This Supreme Court ruled police may make a warrantless arrest when someone commits a misdemeanor offense. The case might be of interest concerning police action in Texas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atwater_v._Lago_Vista

Anonymous said...

A very similar thing happened to me in Chicago. I'm white and my son is black. We were visiting my brother and walking from our hotel to his office and enjoying all the things to see on the way.

A woman saw me playing with Malcolm and said "Is he yours?" I politely replied, "Yes". Then she said "Are you sure?" I ignored her but was pretty pissed.

My son and I continued to walk down the street and a police car pulled up and the cop jumped out and began to question me and my son, who was only 2 1/2 at the time. The cop claimed he got a report of someone dragging a crying child and a possible abduction.

After the cop was satisfied that my son was actually my son, I let him know how angry but I'm still mad about it three years later.

This is so minor compared to what happened to you, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grits,

You may or may not have anything to sue over, but I wouldn't let this go by the wayside just yet. I'm not always in agreement with you, but this could be an excellent opportunity to set things straight with Austin PD and your granddaughter. Bad PR can do just as much damage as a civil judgement.

You know how it is with police. My dad was vice cop in Harris county. After a few years on the job, police often adopt the mentality that there are two kinds of people: cops, and everyone else. And, that makes everyone else potential bad guys in their book. I gave examples in post #8 above (2/11/2012 08:02:00 PM) how these officers could have handled this in a much smarter way. But instead, they chose to treat you just like everyone else they deal with that they consider potential scum. Don't this go. They owe you a very public apology at the least. That way, you could show your granddaughter that you did nothing wrong, and the police have better integrity than what they displayed.

Anonymous said...

What I find fascinating about this is that a only a few decades ago, the people who feared and mistrusted law enforcement were criminals. The postings here appear to be coming from articulate, educated persons whom I suspect are not criminals.

Anonymous said...

You live in the wrong country.
Get over to Sweden , we will treat you nice.

Anonymous said...

I feel empathy for your plight. I think if you haven't already filed a complaint, you should do so. And it might not be a bad idea to consider legal proceedings since it is unlawful to question a minor without a parent or guardian present.

Anonymous said...

9:33 am:

Keep yourself there as well.

Anonymous said...

Sue their asses. Your granddaughter does not need that trauma at the age of 5...

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