Over the past few days, there have been a bunch of comments on an old post about Eric Bryant’s citizen complaint against Police Officer Chadd Stensgaard. Finally, a reader was kind enough to let me in on the reason.
It seems that Bryant’s charge was finally tried, and Chadd was convicted. From Portland Mercury Blogtown :
Stensgaard was found guilty this afternoon of parking in a no parking spot while he went inside the restaurant to get take out food on the middle of his shift, and fined $35 by traffic court Judge Terry Hannon. The case against Stensgaard was brought by newly-qualified lawyer Eric Bryant, who happened to be eating in the restaurant when Officer Stensgaard came in to grab a bite to eat, earlier this year.
Bryant asked Stensgaard why he was parked illegally, but the cop told him he could do what he wanted, and went back to watching a basketball game on the restaurant’s TV, Bryant alleged. So he decided to take the cop to court using an Oregon statute that lets citizens file citations with the District Attorney. And it turns out, Bryant was in the right.
To his credit, Stensgaard took the verdict stoically, as shown in this photo of him at trial, where he carefully studied Bryant’s every feature just in case he ever sees him again in a fine dining restaurant.
Stensgaard’s PBA lawyers pulled out all the stop in his defense:
“Lawyers for Stensgaard argued he was justified in parking outside the restaurant because his patrol car contained guns and expensive equipment that could be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. But the judge ruled that while he felt the officer had acted reasonably, the parking laws apply to everyone. Including cops. “
“Bryant’s attorney asked Stensgaard why he couldn’t have gone to a McDonalds or a Starbucks nearby, somewhere where he could have parked legally.”
“I don’t eat fast food,” Stensgaard responded. “And I don’t drink coffee.”
This verdict has caused great consternation amongst law enforcement officers in the Portland area and elsewhere. So it seems to me that the point has been made that cops are supposed to obey the laws, even though they have a bunch of excuses about how they have to break the law to save us from evil villians, not to mention consider it a perk of the job to ignore the law whenever convenient for them.
But now, they are feeling a bit unappreciated, even though no self-respecting, he-man, sanctimonious cop will admit that he needs or wants our love and devotion but only that he does the “Job” because he wants to beat up perps for fun and profit.
And the simple fact is, we do need cops, and their inability to take constructive criticism because of their fragile self-esteem does not mean that we should kick them while they are down. Therefore, I hereby proclaim today “Cop Love Sunday” and ask everyone to tell us their favorite story about a good thing a cop did for them.
Come on now, let’s show them that we really do appreciate what they do for us, even if they aren’t perfect.