Friday, July 02, 2010

Sheriff Butch is a Sonofabitch



Being relatively new to Georgia, as well as Gwinnett County, I'm still getting up-to-speed on the local "players". However, a recent news story has told me everything I need to know about our county sheriff, Butch Conway and his department.

Earlier this week, one of Butch's thugs falsely arrested County Commissioner Charles Bannister on a DUI charge. According to the AJC:
Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway apologized Thursday for mistakenly charging County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister with DUI, and he scrambled to explain how his department mishandled the episode.

Bannister was exonerated three days after his arrest when a second alcohol test came back with the same result as the first: The chairman did not have alcohol in his system Monday night and was not driving under the influence when a sheriff's deputy pulled him over.

According to Deputy M.G. Cummings' arrest report:

WHEN I APPROACHED THE DRIVERS DOOR THE WINDOW WAS DOWN. I LEANED IN AND INTRODUCED MYSELF AND ASKED THE DRIVER FOR HIS LICENSE. I COULD SMELL A STRONG ODOR OF ALCOHOL COMING FROM HIS BREATH. I TOLD THE DRIVER WHY I WAS PULLING HIM OVER. I NOTICED THAT HIS EYES WERE GLAZED AND WHEN HE SPOKE HE MUMBLED AS HE TALKED.

You'd think that if "Hopalong" Cummings could smell such a "strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath", Mr. Bannister would have tested at a BAC of something slightly higher than .000.

While I'm not a betting man, I'm tempted to wager a sawbuck that Cummings used boilerplate language which appears in other Gwinnett Sheriff's Department reports.

From the AJC:
Two days after standing by his deputies’ actions, Conway on Thursday admitted that they made mistakes.

“Police and deputies are not infallible,” he said at a news conference at the county jail. “They made a mistake. That’s obvious on its face.”

The sheriff said he would investigate what went wrong. But Bannister's attorney and others say they want an independent investigation.

Well, Butch, you're welcome to call them "mistakes"; I call it them ginormous fucking prevarications. Cops tend to get pretty pissy when they think they've been lied to, as they believe it's "disrespectful".

I'd say the citizenry - who are your bosses, pay your salary and benefits and whom you are supposed to be serving and protecting (instead of trying to railroad to meet quotas which I'm sure you'd swear don't actually exist) - has a right to get way more pissy when they've been lied to by their employees.

I concur there needs to be a truly independent investigation.
Conway said he plans to investigate what happened. But unless he finds the deputies acted out of “animosity,” he does not anticipate disciplinary action.

Lying one's ass off under color of law and filing a false police report would indicate "animosity" as well as "venality" and probably "unfit for duty". However, with Butch's attitude, five'll get you ten that Deputy Cummings will, at the very worst, get an insignificant little scold tucked into his jacket which will not affect his career one iota.

After all, gotta protect everyone on the right side of the "Thin Blue Line".
Instead, Conway said additional training is in order. And he wants to install cameras in all Sheriff’s Department vehicles (there was none in the car that pulled over Bannister).

How about including "don't fucking fabricate shit" in your training, Butchie-boy? And I am absolutely in favor of cameras with audio in all department vehicles. As you LEO types are so fond of telling us "civilians", we've got nothing to fear if we haven't done anything wrong. (Which you and I both know is another colossal lie, but I rather enjoyed the irony of writing that.)

Between you and the fucking union, Sheriff, I'd say that Cummings doesn't have to worry much about any meaningful discipline. (Although you might want to send him to a good Otolaryngologist; he really ought to have been able to smell the stupendous mounds of shit in the report he filed.)
Alan Mullinax, Bannister’s attorney, said he has no evidence that “the sheriff’s fingerprints are on what happened.” But he called for an independent investigation.

Since Conway managed to somehow rally enough neurons to get elected, perhaps he was (barely) smart enough to "wear gloves" to avoid "fingerprints".
Among the questions Mullinax wants answered:

* Why did the officer say he detected a strong scent of alcohol when tests showed there was little or no alcohol in the chairman’s blood?

* Why wasn’t Bannister charged with a lane violation if the deputy saw him weaving?

* Why did the deputy administer sobriety tests not recommended for people of Bannister’s age (71)?

I wish Mr. Mullinax and his client good luck in getting to the bottom of this disgusting affair. And I hope they watch their backs. It seems clear that Cummings' was out to get Bannister on Monday evening; now that Deputy Liar has been caught-out and Butch has been publicly embarrassed, their buddies are likely to want in on the fun, too.

'Cause that's just how cops roll.

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