Cops: Pick Your Favorite Amendment to Ignore

With too many great things to write about today, I’ve decided to combine a few under the heading of “which constitutional amendment should we ignore today.” A potpourri of law enforcement follies, but for the fact that this stuff really happens.  So the question posed is, do they simply have no clue what their job is, or are they just this stupid?  Or, from the police perspective, we’re heros just trying to protect law-abiding people despite those activist criminal-coddling judges who don’t realize that freedom isn’t free.  So, pick ‘em.

First up is this gem from the little State of Delaware, known for its love of corporate protection and lack of a state income tax.


Delaware State Police stopped Alvina Vansickle from purchasing a .22-caliber pistol for self-defense because she was too old and a woman, said Superintendent Col. Thomas MacLeish.

The outrage that followed led to the revelation that Delaware State Police had been keeping lists of gun buyers for years; state law requires them to destroy these records after 60 days.


“To be very honest with you, we have a legal obligation under the law to do approvals,” MacLeish said. “We also have an obligation to make sure we’re safe, and paying due diligence.”

MacLeish said the initial call taker “was concerned this individual never purchased a weapon before. Age and gender caused her to take caution.”

I always enjoy when someone prefaces their comment with, “to be honest.”  So they’ve been lying through their teeth the rest of the time?  Now most police officers have heard a rumor about something called the Second Amendment, with its right to keep and bear arms.  Apparently, they fear that the arms of an old woman will be too feeble to bear arms.  How wonderfully concerned they are. 

Notice how seriously they take their “obligations”?  No, not the obligation to honor the Constitution.  Not the law to destroy records after 60 days.  But the obligation to make sure that they treat age and gender differently.

Next up, from the New York Law Journal, is a little insight into how our very own New York cops deal with Spanish speaking drivers when stopped for DWI.


At the 45th Precinct, Priolo testified that at about four a.m., Mr. Garcia-Cepero was shown a video tape in Spanish, by Officer Winchell, which was a verbatim Spanish interpretation of V.T.L. ยง1194(f). A viewing of the tape made during the procedure revealed that defendant responded to the final question on the tape of whether he consented or refused to take the breathalyser test, by stating “no drogas, no drogas” which means “no drugs, no drugs.” Officer Winchell and Priolo took this to mean that defendant refused the breathalyser test and thus, it is that alleged refusal which forms the basis for the prosecution’s request for the consciousness of guilt presumption.

Judge Caesar Cirigliano, formerly attorney in charge of The Legal Aid Society (but no softie as a judge), saw things a bit differently. 


However, it is this Court’s firm belief that the procedure employed by the Police Department creates a classification predicated upon a person’s ability to speak and understand the English language and therefore discriminates against non-English speaking individuals.

Obviously, when a person does not speak or understand English, extra efforts must be made to insure that person’s rights are protected, the same as English speaking defendants.

You mean even Spanish speaking people have to understand stuff before you can use it against them?  What’s next, interpreters?  Well, per Judge Cirigliano, yeah, if that’s what’s needed to make sure that the fellow you’ve got in custody has a clue what the cops are talking about.

And finally, from our neighboring state of New Jersey, known for its excellent drivers and particularly well-dressed citizens, comes this tidbit out of the beautiful city of Newark. 

In most jurisdictions, the police manage to get through the First Amendment before they lose interest (and none have ever made it all the way to the Fourth).  But not this cop in Newark.  There ain’t no First Amendment if he says there ain’t.  And don’t make him mad, because whatever he says you better do, Mr. Cameraman.



For the record, the anchor, Steve Bartelstein who used to do the morning news for WABC before getting canned and moving to WCBS, does wear pants, even though his legs are hidden behind the anchor desk.  I’ve sat next to him and I swear I never saw him wearing pajama bottoms.  Never.


2 comments on “Cops: Pick Your Favorite Amendment to Ignore

  1. Disgusted Beyond Belief

    Situations like these make me wonder if someone else on the scene ought to just declare that they are making a citizens arrest on the police officer for kidnapping and assault and battery because what the police officer did was completely outside of the law.

  2. SHG

    I assume, DBB, that you’re talking about the CBS cameraman’s arrest, since video makes everything much more fun.  It really is a quandary.  The cop is dead wrong.  His conduct is absolutely ignorant and unforgiveable.  But he’s got the gun and the news crew doesn’t. 

    I see so many comments here from people who argue that everyone should just do whatever the cops says.  How does this news crew cover the news because one cop decides to say no?  How does one cop, no matter how smart or stupid, honest or dishonest, angry or happy, get to set the entirety of American freedom on its ear at his whim?  Does he get to change everything simply because he decides to say the word “no”?

    But he’s still the cop.  And he still has the gun.

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