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Friday, January 29, 2010

Riley's Anti-Gambling Crusade Reaches a Frightening, and Comical, Level

Governor Bob Riley's Anti-Gambling Task Force attempted to raid two gaming facilities early this morning, but so far, has been turned away. That's because state troopers assigned to the task had a slight problem--they were trying to invade private property without search warrants.

Troopers reportedly tried to raid the Country Crossing facility near Dothan and VictoryLand near Montgomery. But without search warrants, they have not been able to accomplish much.

According to a report published just before noon today by the Dothan Eagle, troopers were leaving the Country Crossing site. Attorneys for Country Crossing issued a written statement to troopers:

The written statement, delivered at 11:15 a.m. Friday, has the word “Stop” in all capital letters and includes the following message:

“You are trespassing and do not have permission to be here or anywhere on the Country Crossing development, property including, but not limited to, all internal roads and parking areas. Unless you have a valid search warrant, you are trespassing. You are hereby being instructed to leave the premises immediately.“

The statement was handed out to all troopers currently on site at Country Crossing. That number has been estimated at about 50.

A judge in Alexander City issued an order blocking an attempted raid at VictoryLand.

Jim Parkman, an attorney for Country Crossing, said the attempted raids posed a number of legal and public-safety concerns. Writes the Dothan Eagle:

Attorney Jim Parkman said Friday morning that gambling is a misdemeanor and that authorities must see it being committed before they can act.

“On a misdemeanor if you do not see it committed, you have no grounds to do anything,” said Parkman from his Birmingham offices. “They see nothing going on in the building, so they can’t seize anything. That was my first concern, to preserve the property.”

Parkman said after viewing the tape of the raid at White Hall, and considering the tactics used by the task force, Country Crossing had to shut its doors Friday morning to preserve their equipment and their operations.

“Our number two concern is for the safety of all citizens. If they do like they did in White Hall, with a stampede of officers with guns raised, somebody could have severe problems, maybe even a heart attack. We didn’t want that to take place. We felt like we had to get everybody out.”

How much is all of this costing taxpayers? The Dothan newspaper has tried to come up with an answer:

Those on site for the parade of trooper cars and state vehicles down U.S. 231 at 4 a.m. Friday, said they counted 135 vehicles in the caravan, including two huge public safety tactical vehicles. About 30 of those left around 8 a.m.

The Eagle has placed a call to the Alabama State Trooper’s office in Montgomery, in an attempt to get an estimated cost and accurate manpower numbers for the attempted raids on both Country Crossing and VictoryLand in Shorter.

The paper has previously asked for cost figures on the first attempted raid on Country Crossing, Jan. 5 The governor’s press office never emailed a response on the cost.

“With the economy the way it is, they are burning a minimum of $4,000 an hour. From the time they got the word to meet,” Parkman said, “and for something they could have handled differently. And they had the same number of troopers at VictoryLand. I did try to call trooper office here in Birmingham to see if anybody was working. I thought I was going to have to go to Dothan and wanted to see how fast I could drive.”

And keep in mind, Riley's troops were burning an estimated $4,000 an hour on a mission that had no chance for success because troopers did not have search warrants.

Alabama citizens should rest comfortably knowing that a Republican administration is putting their tax dollars to good use.


Robby Scott Hill said...

If state officials can seize bingo machines without a search warrant, they will be coming for our computers & cell phones next. This administration and the willingness of the Alabama Supreme Court to rubber stamp their agenda is truly frightening. Even when they get a search warrant, sometimes it's issued by a magistrate with only a high school education and no formal legal training who is a member of the local "go along to get along club." That really scares the hell out of me.

Anonymous said...


Not sure I see your argument. Plain view searches have been around forever and have been repeatedly recognized by the supreme court. If someone is doing something illegal in plain view of everyone, should an officer have to get a warrant to arrest him? If Milton McGregor were selling drugs to everyone who walked through the doors at victoryland, should the cops have to leave and get a warrant before seizing the contraband?

You may not like plain view searches, but it's hardly a new development.

mikkrikk said...

I was thinking Bob Riley had gone crazy in utilizing so many state resources to put so many Alabamians out of work in such dire economic times. I have read that Riley is actually a very vindictive man and always has been. It would make sense then that he is so mad at Milton McGregor that he aims to teach him a lesson. Never mind that this would be at the expense of many families who will face hard times without the jobs that will disappear at the casinos.

On the other hand, I realized that someone in Mississippi could be threatening to expose something..that would certainly explain a few things.

Panamaed said...

Who totes the note to Country Crossing?

Uncle Bucky Bush and Lord Abbett Family Mutual Fund.

The real story is how they could risk investors money on such a "RISKY BUSINESS!"

Go to http://panamaed.wordpress.com for the scoop.