Ham-Handed Arrest at Pediatric Clinic Highlights Official War on the Powerless

Posted: March 31, 2016 by gamegetterII in Police state USSA, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,
h/t Wirecuter

Forget that “war on cops.” Unaffordable penalties, incompetent courts, and heavy-handed tactics are all evidence of an official assault on regular Americans.

 The cops raided my wife’s pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.

Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.
My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.

When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.
“Who’s in charge here?” she asked, demanding that they move the Fallujah reenactment out of view.
“We were already in the process of moving the vehicles at this time,” Cottonwood Detective Sergeant Tod Moore insisted in a statement to me. “It should be noted only 1 marked police unit was in the main parking lot area of the business.” (The clinic’s staff dispute that point.) Moore also claimed that only 10 officers were present. They included three detectives dressed in civilian clothes—and tactical vests—who arrived to initiate the arrest, joined by seven additional officers, including SWAT members, who transported another suspect with them on the trip to deliver the arrest warrant that the detectives hadn’t brought along.
C.H.’s crime? It was an eight-year-old “amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree,” according to Court Clerk and Associate Magistrate Anna M. Kirton. Kirton signed C.H.’s release order after my wife paid $1,300 to spare her employee 26 days in jail. More accurately, C.H. was arrested for making only partial payment of the fines and fees she’d been assessed, and for missing a court appointment that she never knew about.
“I was young and stupid,” C.H. told me about the day in 2008 when her 21-year-old self was pulled over for a broken license plate light. She and her friends had open beer bottles in the car, and a marijuana pipe that C.H. claims wasn’t hers, but which ended up in her purse. The original arrest, then, was for open containers and “drug paraphernalia,” which was pled down to an even lesser charge.
After a night in jail, C.H. went to court, only to discover that there was no record of her arrest or charge to face, so she was sent home.
Years later, she was pulled over again and arrested on the original charge after the court got its paperwork in order. As Kirton told me, “On January 19, 2011, the Defendant entered into a plea with the State. She plead guilty to an amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree, (13-3415A was dismissed per the plea).  She was sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence required by law in the State of Arizona. Part of this sentence included fines and fees totaling $2005.00.”
Actually, that was all of the sentence—provided she made her payments.
That’s where things get a bit fuzzy. C.H. tells me she thought she paid in full. The court says otherwise. C.H. got married at that time, so things may have fallen through the cracks in the confusion. Court records show an official notice to C.H. returned because of a bad address on September 24, 2012 and a failure to appear recorded against her the next day. A warrant for her arrest was issued a week later.
The “bad address” in the court files is C.H.’s mother’s house. It was the first place the police looked for her last week, so they have it accurately recorded somewhere as the place to find her. That house stopped being her official mailing address sometime last year, but it remains a convenient place to contact her—it was her mom who told police about C.H.’s job.
For whatever reason, the court notice of a command appearance never reached C.H., she remained unaware that the county thought she still owed $1,300, and last week a small army showed up to collect.
For all of its drama, the arrest was nothing special, in itself—just part of a regular bureaucratic spring cleaning. In response to my (very pointed) query, Detective Sergeant Moore wrote, “a Verde Valley Wide Warrant Sweep was conducted by members of the Cottonwood Police Department to include SWAT Members, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, PANT [Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking], GIITEM [Gang and Immigration Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission], Camp Verde Marshall’s Office, Clarkdale Police Department, US Marshall’s Office and HSI [Homeland Security Investigations]. The purpose of this sweep was to try and reduce the large number of outstanding warrants currently held by the numerous agencies listed.”
But why the small army? (Neither the U.S.Marshals Service nor Homeland Security responded to queries by press time.)
“The teams were tasked to apprehend people who had a variety [of] offenses,” Cottonwood Patrol Division Commander Jody Makuch said in an email. “While we cannot predict the behavior of the people who fail to meet their obligations, we do have to be prepared for a worst case scenario to protect the public and the officers.”
They had a quota to meet, so they went with one-size-fits-all.

Read the rest here

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