Well, it just goes to show you…nobody is immune to the criminal justice virus.
Ask most members of law enforcement, and they will tell you that there is a big difference between “us” and “them”, referring to themselves and the “perps” they go after on a daily basis. The difference? Well, that “we” are the good guys and “they” are the bad guys, of course.
Hm. Somebody apparently forgot to mention this to Boston police detective Sgt. Thomas J. (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). He is alleged to have gotten a bit confused about this difference back in March during a trip out of town. In fact, it was in Savannah, Georgia, where he was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. His actions during that vacation have now earned him an even longer respite from work now that he has been suspended without pay from the force. The suspension came when the eight-count indictment was handed down last week. Before that, the highly respected drug detective had simply been on paid leave from the department since March 15th.
Savannah police say that the Defendant followed a group of women back to their home and pounded on the door, saying he was a police officer and demanding they open up. He then attempted to force his way inside and struggled with one of the women at the door, police said.
He soon overpowered the women and pulled them outside, where he forced them to the sidewalk but made no further demands, police said. Instead, he fled. However, that course of action apparently works as well in Georgia as it does in Massachusetts. The Savannah police caught him.
According to the indictment, he then resisted arrest. Yes, same result as when it happens in the Commonwealth.
The charges against the Defendant also include two counts of false imprisonment, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of assault for grabbing the women.
Detective Miller Thomas, president of the Boston Police Detective Benevolent Society, described the Defendant a talented detective.
“As far as his work in the city of Boston is concerned he had, and still has, a great career,” Thomas said. “What happened in Georgia is an unfortunate thing that the courts will have to sort out.”
The Defendant is due back in Savannah in January to deal with the charges.
Well, I think we can all breathe alittle easier today, knowing that the talented law-enforcing Defendant’s career can still be great despite “unfortunate” little indiscretions such as kidnapping, assault, resisting arrest and false imprisonment. Apparently a trifling abuse of one’s alleged authority down south is not that big a deal up here in the more…understanding…north. After all, boys will be boys…! And it’s not as if this narcotics detective were on drugs or something…he was only drunk.
Ok, so, sarcasm aside, what’s the point?
No, it is not to show you how forgiving our Massachusetts Criminal Justice System is for little misunderstandings such as these. I have seen very few cases in which police representatives describe the “great career” ahead for those non-uniformed defendants that get into “unfortunate” situations up here.
Once again, we have an example of an arrest where one would least expect it. Once again, we have the arrestee also allegedly engaging in the foolhardy pursuits of fleeing from the scene and resisting arrest. This course of action did not work for the Defendant in today’s daily blog, and it seldom ever does…regardless of the state in which the events are taking place.
It goes without saying that the Defendant never anticipated finding himself in this situation. But sometimes things happen. Sometimes people allegedly do stupid things. And, once again, even those who we would never expect to resist arrest find themselves so charged.
So, removing its blue tint, today’s message is not really new.
Nobody is immune to the possibility of finding themselves in a situation which leads them to the door of a criminal justice nightmare. Further, the response of, “Well, if it ever happens to me…I will know what to do. No sense in thinking about it now”, is a mistake.
Think about it now. Plan for it now. Decide now that, should such a situation take place, you will do your best to minimize the damage. In other words, decide now that you will not flee, fight, fly, dance or anything else when law enforcement is offering you free housing, including trying to talk your way out of it. Comply, politely decline the offer to make incriminating statements to further hang yourself, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Simply put, if it did not work for the highly respected Boston police detective Sgt. Defendant with the great career…it is probably not going to work for you.
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, P.C. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a defense attorney in Boston over 18 years. He frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network
The full article of this story can be found at http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2008_11_01_Cop_suspended_after_being_charged_in_Georgia/srvc=home&position=also