Benjamin Franklin allegedly once said,

Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

A moment ago, after witnessing the police harassing a woman without probable cause, I felt compelled to give the waitress my butter knife.

For my own safety.

I frequently eat lunch at the casino restaurant across the street from my office.  Today, as I came in, I noticed a Coven of Deputy District Attorneys seated a few tables away.

I know some of those DDAs.  Individually, they can be very nice people.  In fact, part of me hates to even write this article because I don’t really want to alienate any of them unnecessarily.

The key word, of course, is “unnecessarily.”

But I just witnessed something that happens all-too-often around here.  And it needs to be discussed.

It needs to be discused because as nice and as good-intentioned as they are — and let me be clear that I really do believe they’re good-intentioned — put them together in a coven and, well — you’ve probably heard of group-think.

The problem is that too many DDAs see dead people crimes being committed everywhere.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Not at that moment fearing for my own safety in doing so, I sat to eat my lunch a few tables away.  The tables between us were all empty.

A young woman, looking somewhat distressed, pushing a stroller, and with her young daughter accompanying her, made the mistake of sitting at one of those tables.

The woman appeared to be in some amount of pain.  She situated her daughter.  She then sat, much of the time with her elbows on the table and her head propped between her hands.  A waitress approached.  She ordered food for her daughter.

I eventually realized — because I overheard her on the phone with someone — that she had apparently just had oral surgery.  Two of her teeth had apparently been pulled.  I heard her telling someone that she did not think she could stay.  She was waiting for the food she’d ordered to be brought and was thinking of getting it to go and just wanted to be picked up.

Her daughter, a very cute little girl, sat beside her, playing with the silverware.  She would pick up a fork and hit it on the table a couple times.  She picked up spoons and banged them together.  It was distracting, but not overly so until she picked up the butter knives and began to bang them together, as she had with the other pieces of silverware.

Then the DDAs sprang into action.

One got up and went somewhere else — at first, I thought she’d just gone to the restroom — while another approached the young girl, took the butter knives away and said to the mom that the little girl should not be playing with butter knives.  I realized in that moment that I would have been a horrible father, because I’d watched the little girl drumming the butter knives together and had seen nothing dangerous about it.  A waitress later told me that she, too, is a horrible mother, because her children have done the same thing and she didn’t think to stop them.

As mom would later tell the police: “They were butter knives!”

You already know what happened next.  The other DDA had not gone to the bathroom.  She’d moved away to a safer place from which to call the cops.

I had already informed one of the concerned DDAs that I’d overheard the woman on the phone.  I told her what I’d heard.  The DDA would later tell me that the woman had been in here before “using the same excuse.”  I suggested it was possible she had bad teeth.  I received a kindly smile obviously meant to indicate tolerance for my naiveté. [1]The waitresses and a manager later said they’d never seen the woman in there before.

The police showed up, as I said, and the DDAs led them to the woman.  I was, ironically, supposed to be leaving for a meeting with another police officer, who wishes to discuss something with one of my clients.  I called to reschedule.

The officers would not accept the woman’s explanation.  Someone told me that the officers said they have interacted with the woman in the past, although I’ve no idea what for.  Their prior interaction was supposed to give them special insight into the idea that, although no one except the DDAs and the cops believed this, there was probable cause for them to question her relentlessly, doubt her story, insist on getting the mother’s phone number and calling her mother on the phone to verify part of her story, and, eventually, escort her from the restaurant. [2]But not before I gave her my card and suggested she stop talking.  Although I doubt I could represent her now — and, believe me, I’d love to — I told her that I did see and hear enough to be able to support her story if needed as a witness.

The woman pleaded to know why they were questioning her.  She said she just wanted to get food for her daughter and go home.  She bemoaned the fact that she’d decided to walk into the restaurant, wishing she had chosen, instead, to go straight home.  As an officer spoke on his phone with the woman’s mother, the woman began trying to call other people she knew to come and get her.  I wanted very much to stop what was happening — as, by the way, did several employees watching. [3]Many of them stopped by to whisper to me that they could not understand how this sort of behavior on the part of the officers was justified.  I assured them it really wasn’t.  Subsequently, there was some discussion about whether management could ban the DDAs from eating there anymore, since, according to the wait staff, this happens too frequently, which is why I’m writing about it.

Eventually, the woman was escorted from the establishment by officers, who said they were going to stand by the curb with her until whoever was coming to get her came and got her.

And why?

Because this is the new America.  This, the land of the free, home of the brave, is what we’ve become: the land where people are so scared that we expect something bad is going to happen any time we see something that, to us, is out of the ordinary.  In this police state in which we live, you don’t dare let yourself be seen in public after oral surgery.  You don’t dare allow your child to act as a child.

And, if you’re smart and value your safety, you don’t sit anywhere near a Coven of Deputy District Attorneys.

I’m just sayin’.

And if any of you prosecutors do stop by here, don’t be angry at me.

Just be ashamed.

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References   [ + ]

1. The waitresses and a manager later said they’d never seen the woman in there before.
2. But not before I gave her my card and suggested she stop talking.  Although I doubt I could represent her now — and, believe me, I’d love to — I told her that I did see and hear enough to be able to support her story if needed as a witness.
3. Many of them stopped by to whisper to me that they could not understand how this sort of behavior on the part of the officers was justified.  I assured them it really wasn’t.  Subsequently, there was some discussion about whether management could ban the DDAs from eating there anymore, since, according to the wait staff, this happens too frequently, which is why I’m writing about it.

14 comments

  1. welcome to the world of copwatchers. and thank you for speaking about how people who get together become the mob you know like when they chased frankstein with the fire torchs except now they use hired guns, tasers and excessive force and harrassment. Seems they were out of line and wasting tax payer’s use of funds since the place should have their own security.

  2. welcome to the world of copwatchers. and thank you for speaking about how people who get together become the mob you know like when they chased frankstein with the fire torchs except now they use hired guns, tasers and excessive force and harrassment. Seems they were out of line and wasting tax payer’s use of funds since the place should have their own security.

  3. It is sad but the casino restaurant as other public establishments and even indidviduals should spend $120. to purchase a mini DVR 90 video camera. Its very small and easily concealable. It’s a sad day when we need to protect ourselves from the police but several local attorneys recommended that I buy one. I’ve been targeted because I’ve previously self published a whistle blower piece which exposed a pattern of repeat corrupt behavior in the Vermont DOC and law enforcement.

    The restaurant should tell the DDA’s their business isn’t welcome and send a press release to the local press, the woman’s dentist and mayor. Your only hope is to go public. If the had a mini DVR 90 they could just post the video on YouTube. Yes YouTube.

    We’ve institutionalized crime into a business. That woman is worth more to her state in prison than free on the streets. She has a child, she had surgery and the state would much rather have that business. Go to http://www.spychest.com and look up the mini DVR90 and trust me, its well worth the investment. I’ve got a couple videos that just might end up on YouTube. Police are public officials and if they’re acting that way in a restaurant then we have a civic, moral and personal responsibility to record it.

    The dentist or should I say Oral surgen could have given her a note too. Few surgens allow for surgery patients to walk home or even leave their practice without an escort. If seems bizzar that she was allowed to do that. Not unless the surgen’s office has an agreement with the local DDA’s or police department.

    Get video people and post it.

  4. It is sad but the casino restaurant as other public establishments and even indidviduals should spend $120. to purchase a mini DVR 90 video camera. Its very small and easily concealable. It’s a sad day when we need to protect ourselves from the police but several local attorneys recommended that I buy one. I’ve been targeted because I’ve previously self published a whistle blower piece which exposed a pattern of repeat corrupt behavior in the Vermont DOC and law enforcement.

    The restaurant should tell the DDA’s their business isn’t welcome and send a press release to the local press, the woman’s dentist and mayor. Your only hope is to go public. If the had a mini DVR 90 they could just post the video on YouTube. Yes YouTube.

    We’ve institutionalized crime into a business. That woman is worth more to her state in prison than free on the streets. She has a child, she had surgery and the state would much rather have that business. Go to http://www.spychest.com and look up the mini DVR90 and trust me, its well worth the investment. I’ve got a couple videos that just might end up on YouTube. Police are public officials and if they’re acting that way in a restaurant then we have a civic, moral and personal responsibility to record it.

    The dentist or should I say Oral surgen could have given her a note too. Few surgens allow for surgery patients to walk home or even leave their practice without an escort. If seems bizzar that she was allowed to do that. Not unless the surgen’s office has an agreement with the local DDA’s or police department.

    Get video people and post it.

  5. I’ve mentioned on my blog a couple of times that I wouldn’t want to have to do what a prosecutor does. A couple of prosecutors have found this somewhat surprising and tried to explain why they do it. Next time, I should probably just give them a link to this post. The zeal to punish is unattractive.

    As for collective terminology, I’ve heard it suggested that that the term for lawyers in general is “slick,” as in “a slick of contract lawyers.” However, for prosecutors specifically, perhaps you could borrow the collective term for ravens, and call them “an unkindness of prosecutors.”

  6. I’ve mentioned on my blog a couple of times that I wouldn’t want to have to do what a prosecutor does. A couple of prosecutors have found this somewhat surprising and tried to explain why they do it. Next time, I should probably just give them a link to this post. The zeal to punish is unattractive.

    As for collective terminology, I’ve heard it suggested that that the term for lawyers in general is “slick,” as in “a slick of contract lawyers.” However, for prosecutors specifically, perhaps you could borrow the collective term for ravens, and call them “an unkindness of prosecutors.”

  7. Seriously? You’re not making this up? WTF were they questioning her about? Her child playing with knives? What does that mean “in here before with the same excuse”? Did they think she was impaired?

    BTW, like locusts, I always thought a group of DAs were called a plague (although, perhaps Coven is not out of line).

    1. I’m not making it up. The woman was in some distress and did, at first glance, seem to warrant some concern. But one minute of paying attention made it clear that she was not a danger; she just had a serious amount of post-dental-procedure pain. Her child was fine. She was interacting with her child well, despite her own distress. (Kid would periodically ask questions like “What is this?” and mom answered.)

      The DDAs apparently jumped to the conclusion that she was on drugs, apparently did not notice she was still interacting with the child and became frightened that the child was “playing with knives.” Butter knives. As one of the floor managers noted, “half the time, those knives won’t even cut butter.”

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