Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Horton and the People of Wellford

After all the ugly stories of police misconduct (here, and here, and here, for instance) it's good to know that the people of Wellford, South Carolina have a mayor who wants to rein in the police force but is willing, albeit grudgingly, to allow them to catch the occasional bad guy.

It seems the good people of Wellford were having trouble paying the medical expenses of those injured in police chases. Not the expenses of the chasees, mind you. As far as I can figure, nobody ever actually got hurt (or caught) being chased by Wellford's finest. No, the problem was that the cops kept getting hurt while chasing.

So on September 2, just five months before Groundhog Day though I don't think that's relevant, Mayor Sallie Peake issued an order:
As of this date, there are to be no more foot chases when a suspect runs. I do not want anyone chasing after any suspects whatsoever.
And so things, er (what's the word I want here?), stood. Or maybe sat.

No chases. Zippo.

She said it wasn't a problem. Police could still try to identify the bad guys who ran (or walked, skipped, hopped, or crawled) away and pick them up later. As long as they stayed put next time.

In any event, the order has now been rescinded. Said Mayor Peake, from now on
They can run, jump, climb trees, tumble, wreck cars, whatever they want to do.
OK. It's all back to normal now in Wellford. And the Mayor. Ah, in the competition for this week's doublespeak award, she echoed Horton with her explanation of the changed policy:
I meant what I said, and I say what I mean, and I stand by it!
Got that. She stands by the policy of not moving and she means it, and to prove it, she changed it.

The entire saga, complete with a video of an interveiw with Mayor (I'm not a flip-flopper, yes I am, no I'm not) Peake is available here. My deep gratitude to Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar for pointing me to it.

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