Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sometimes it is hard to tell who is on which side.

The Miami New Times has a story today about Adam Finkel, a 26-year-old assistant state attorney in Florida. Mr. Finkel allegedly got into an altercation this weekend with the doorman of a club in South Beach. The altercation allegedly occurred with Mr. Finkel was told that he had to wait in line because the club was full.  After arguing with the doorman about having to wait, Mr. Finkel was told he was no longer welcome at the club. 
Some might suggest the power to keep people out of a club is a reason to be nice the doorman. However, that approach apparently did not occur to Mr. Finkel. Instead, Mr. Finkel allegedly tried to barge through the door. The doorman blocked the entrance and the article quotes a police report as saying that Mr. Finkel got into "an aggressive fighting stance." This begs the question of what a passive fighting stance might look like. But I digress.  

An off-duty police officer saw this and suggested that Mr. Finkel leave before he got into more trouble. Mr. Finkel ignored this sensible advice and instead took out his wallet and flashed a badge that identifies him as a Florida state attorney. Allegedly, Mr. Finkel also told the officer that "we are on the same side." 

It turns out the off-duty officer and Mr. Finkel were not on the same side when it came to letting Mr. Finkel into the club. The officer told (as opposed to suggesting) Mr. Finkel to leave. Mr. Finkel apparently responded by saying that the officer had "no right or authority" to tell Mr. Finkel what to do. Mr. Finkel is alleged to have then pushed the officer in the chest. The officer then decided to handcuff Mr. Finkel and arrest him.  Mr. Finkel is accused of trying to prevent this from happening by trying to spin away after one cuff was on. The gambit failed and instead of getting in the club, the weekend ended with Mr. Finkel being charged with disorderly intoxication, trespassing after a warning, and resisting an officer without violence. I do not believe he gets to prosecute himself.

A similar mistake about who is on what side recently took place in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has the story of two members of the Minneapolis Police Department who discovered that they were not on the same side as the Green Bay Police.

According to the story, the two police officers were in Green Bay for personal reasons around June 29. The officers were out drinking when they passed a group of nine African-American men on the street. One of the men bumped one of the officers and some words were exchanged. I guess these words apparently weren't too friendly because one of the officers punched one of the men in the face.

Several Green Bay police officers arrived on the scene.  This report from WCCO-TV includes the dashboard footage from one of the squad cars. The Minneapolis officers did not think that the Green Bay officers were taking the matter seriously. So, one of the Minneapolis officers allegedly said said, "“We’re police officers, I punched him in the face and I will do it again.” A Green Bay police officer reported that the Minneapolis officers  “expected preferential treatment” and had pointed out “several times that they were full-time SWAT officers.” It is unclear why that would be pertinent to the situation. Maybe SWAT officers are entitled to privileges, like  punching people in the face, that regular police officers do not get when travelling out of town.

The Green Bay police told the Minneapolis officers to go back to their hotel. But they did not say for how long. So, about an hour after the incident,  the Minneapolis police officers went to the Green Bay police station to complain that the local police were not being responsive to the situation. At some point the Minneapolis police officers allegedly began using racial slurs in describing the men with whom they had scuffled. The Green Bay Police Lieutenant dealing with the men apparently pointed this out. In response, one of the Minneapolis officer apparently said he had the right under the First Amendment to use racial slurs that start with the letter n. I suppose he is a supporter of the marketplace of ideas theory of the First Amendment.

Apparently aware that they were creating something of a scene, the Minneapolis police officers wanted their names kept out of any reports because they were concerned that appearing in Green Bay police reports would cause them trouble with their jobs. They allegedly explained this situation by referring to the fact that the Minneapolis Police Chief is homosexual, female, and looking for reasons to fire police officers. The men used language that was a little coarser than mine.

Just like being nice the the doorman is a better policy for getting in a club, being nice to the police is a good way to stay out of police reports. The Minneapolis Police decided to take another approach and referred to the Green Bay Police Department as a "clown show."

There is an old saying that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It never ceases to surprise me how many people ignore that particular advice. A corollary to that saying might be that when you act like a jerk, it is hard to find anyone on your side. 


  1. "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." True. But why would I want flies?

  2. Wisconsin law enforcement also had an interesting altercation this week with a fawn. Apparently it took a SWAT team to subdue it. But how the fawn managed to offend the SWAT team is unclear.



Comments on posts older than 30 days are moderated because almost all of those comments are spam.