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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Suing Law Enforcement Officers? Hmmm

Looks like Shelby County does not have the only incompetent law-enforcement outfit in Alabama.

Evidently Baldwin County, another Republican stronghold, also has a bunch of misfits masquerading as law officers.

Get this: Jeanette Garrett, a 48-year-old mother of three, was arrested for selling drugs to undercover officers. Ms. Garrett, who lives in Loxley, AL, is a stroke victim who has been confined to a wheelchair since 2000.

Just the type of person you would expect to be selling drugs on a street corner.

It took her a year and a half to clean up the mess made by law enforcement, and now she is suing three officers in federal court. The officers are from the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, Daphne Police Department, and Orange Beach Police Department.

How did all this affect Garrett?

"Worrying about it, worrying about it, worrying about it every day was a living hell," said Garrett, who blames the stress for causing another stroke.

And what about this paragraph from the Mobile Press-Register:

How it is that a woman with no apparent connection to illegal drugs could have been mistaken for a drug dealer -- and why it took so long for law enforcement to acknowledge the error -- remains unclear. Officials from the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, which runs the drug task force that investigated the case, declined comment.

Yeah, I bet they declined comment. Baldwin County's district attorney did not decline comment. Is there actually an honest Republican in Alabama? Great, Caesar's Ghost!

Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcomb said last week that she was not familiar with the details of Garrett's case. But Newcomb added that at about the time of Garrett's arrest, she was becoming concerned with the way that law enforcement officers were making identifications in undercover drug cases.

Gee, think she had reason to become concerned?

James Curenton, a lawyer from Fairhope, is representing Ms. Garrett. Count me as one citizen who is hoping the folks in Baldwin County wind up writing a check with a whole lot of zeroes to Ms. Garrett:

"It's kind of amazing, really," Curenton said. "They supposedly had a videotape of a drug transaction. I'm just shocked that she was prosecuted for this."

So law enforcement officers can be sued in federal court for acting unlawfully, taking away people's rights, and causing emotional distress? Sounds like they can be sued for unlawfully taking away people's houses. Now isn't that an interesting thought?

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