|Shelby Co. Sheriff Chris Curry|
The incident almost ended with a physical confrontation between me and Lt. Mike DeHart, after I called the officer a "fraud"--plus a few other choice words--and he threatened me with arrest. I'm not sure what would have happened if my wife (we call her Mrs. Schnauzer here) had not been with me and made it clear that Officer DeHart was going to have to physically deal with her if he took his bullheadedness any further. It appeared that DeHart saw his career flash before his eyes--suddenly becoming conscious of how bad it would look to physically confront a woman in the parking lot of a public library--and thought better of what he was doing.
(For details about the incident, check out the video at the end of this post.)
All of this, it seems, was the culmination of a week that saw multiple visits every day to our home from sheriff's deputies--always in groups of two or three, with at least two vehicles--resulting in banging on our door, yelling on our doorstep, and trips to the back of our house. On one night-time visit, deputies shined lights into our windows.
As I stated in a number of posts (see here and here), the show of force made it appear to us that deputies were setting me up for a bogus arrest or a groundless search of our home, with the likely intention of seizing our computer. Long-time readers know that Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry orchestrated an unlawful "sale" of our house on the courthouse steps in 2008, just a few days before I officially got cheated out of my job at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). (See second video at the end of this post.)
To be sure, that kind of experience does not engender a spirit of trust when deputies come pounding on our door, and that's why we were in no hurry to answer to a throng of officers who appeared to wish us harm.
What were they really up to? We learned Sunday, courtesy of Officer DeHart, that the plan all along apparently was to serve me with legal papers. But evidence strongly suggests that the persistent harassment, the phony traffic stop, even the legal papers themselves, are part of the fallout from my reporting on the Pryor gay-porn story.
Here is a short version of what happened Sunday: At the intersection of MacIan Lane and Keith Drive, I turned left to head toward the exit from our neighborhood. We drove about a mile to the North Shelby County Library, where we intended to partake of the many dangerous activities therein. As we parked and prepared to leave our car, we looked behind us to see a sheriff's vehicle, blocking the way, with lights flashing.
When I inquired as to what was going on, an officer told me to get back in the car. He then approached and claimed he witnessed me roll through the stop sign at MacIan and Keith. I immediately told him that I did no such thing. It's a one-way stop, where I was turning left and had to check for traffic coming from both directions. We've lived in Broken Bow South for 23 years, and we know that Keith Drive is the most heavily trafficked street in our neighborhood, and this stop sign is just a few yards from the busy Alabama Highway 119.
Even a careless driver doesn't roll through a stop sign like that--and I sure as heck don't. I knew immediately the officer was lying.
He took my license and registration to his vehicle, and I noticed him returning with a stack of papers. He handed me a warning notice for the "rolling stop" and then gave me the papers, saying, "Mr. Shuler, you've been served."
I'm used to seeing thuggish behavior from lawyers, judges, sheriff's, and just about anyone connected to American law enforcement. But even I was taken aback by this show of audacity. The guy actually conducted a bogus traffic stop in order to serve me with legal papers, apparently from a lawsuit filed by Republican political figure Rob Riley.
Like most citizens (I think) in such a situation, I was fuming. I called the officer a "fraud" and a few other choice words I didn't learn in Sunday school. I asked for his name and basically told him he was a liar and a cheat and he could stick his papers in an indelicate place.
DeHart ordered me to get up against our car, and in so many words, I told him to go to hell. I got back into our vehicle, and he grabbed my arm and also the door, keeping it from closing. He was reaching for his handcuffs when Mrs. Schnauzer made it clear she was about to pounce.
My wife is one of the sweetest, most good-natured people in the world. But she has a Serbian temper that surfaces under certain conditions--and this was one of those conditions.
Given that Officer DeHart had already trashed our federal civil rights and probably committed any number of state-law torts--maybe even crimes--he apparently realized that adding a physical confrontation with my wife was not going to make his professional career path any smoother.
He backed off and returned to his vehicle, we pulled away and threw his f-----g papers out the window. I don't normally condone littering, but in this case, I felt it was warranted--given that DeHart started the whole affair by acting in a fraudulent manner. We later returned to the library, and the papers were gone, so we are hopeful that DeHart and his fat ass had to clean them up.
Pryor and Rob Riley (the son of former governor Bob Riley) are part of the Republican sleaze machine that has turned Alabama into one of America's most corrupt states. The Pryor story is about much more than titillating photos. It's about a corrupt "public servant" who has become a GOP fixer in the federal courts--an ethically compromised "jurist" who vaulted to power precisely BECAUSE of the known gay porn in his background.
We will explain that in a series of upcoming posts. But for now, Rob Riley's lawsuit seems to explain the hordes of deputies on our property in recent days--plus one deputy who considered it his public duty to conduct a fraudulent traffic stop.