Thursday, March 14, 2013


Defending a cop's poor judgment and callousness does not pass the smell test

In order to save face, the Houston Police Department now claims that the homeless man was ticketed for making a mess, not for searching for food. Even if that is true, the officer still did not have to give him a ticket. He could have told the man to clean up the mess he made and ticketed him only if he refused.

HPD says the only times the homeless are ticketed for rummaging through trash bins is when a citizen makes a complaint. Alright, suppose the officer in this case responded to the complaint of a citizen. He can still handle the situation in the same way by telling the man to clean up the mess he made. I’m sure the complaining citizen would be satisfied if the man picks up the litter he left on the ground. A citizen’s complaint does not require the issuance of a ticket or an arrest if the complaint can be handled otherwise.

As for the ticket given the homeless man, hell will freeze over before it gets paid. The man does not have any money – that’s why he’s homeless in the first place. He probably won’t appear in court. Processing his case will cost more than the fine, and if he is jailed, it will cost even more. Giving a homeless man a ticket for a minor offense is a big waste of time. Any way you look at it, Officer Dudley Doright used poor judgment in this case.

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