FC: Florida city commissioner replies to ACLU suing police chief

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Mon Feb 04 2002 - 18:08:38 PST

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    [I thank Tom Oosterhoudt for replying. His response is below. Previous
    Politech message is here: http://www.politechbot.com/p-03108.html 
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Mon, 04 Feb 2002 17:33:37 -0500
    From: Tom Oosterhoudt <Tomoat_private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    Subject: Re: ACLU sues Florida police chief for arresting newspaper
    Mr. McCullagh,  I happen to be one of the few people who can honestly say
    that I am friends with Both Key West Police Chief Buzz Dillon
    and Dr. Dennis Reeves Cooper.   In the best of worlds, everyone is entitles
    to make mistakes.   At one time, even the daily newspaper here
    took offense with Chief Dillon for sitting on information.   Cooper chose to
    persistently antagonize the chief in print by printing details of
    on going investigations.   Of course he had every right to do so, but he also
    pushed the chief into taking some sort of reaction.   While I think
    the law he had Cooper arrested under was dumb myself, it was not clear to
    anyone at the time including the local press, that the statute had
    been overturned ten years ago.
            While I did not agree with Dillon having Cooper arrested , it was
    largely a ceremonial type action, with Dennis turning himself in and
    being driven to the jail for immediate processing by Lt. Kenny Hock, well
    known as the most friendly cop on the force.  Dennis was accompanied by his
    attorney, Mick Barnes, who made sure the whole thing was expeditiously
    processed.   So to make it seem like Dennis
    was shackled, gagged, and blindfolded like an al Qaida Taliban terrorist is a
    huge stretch.
            And while I agree that the ACLU has the right to sue, I find their
    action as dramatically unjustified as Cooper's arrest.   After all,
    what sort of injury or damage could Cooper possibly allege?   The bottom line
    is that he got over a million dollars worth of free publicity
    for his publication , receiving several front page articles and photos in the
    daily paper (his competition).   He also probably garnered more
    credibility from the many people out there who psychologically have an ax to
    grind with the police.  It has been my experience as a city
    commissioner that many of the complaints I get about police are generated by
    folks out there who are paranoid about police abusing their
    power.   Now Dennis has become their hero.   And I have no problem with that,
    in a truly democratic society, everyone should have someone
    to turn to.
            As a city commissioner, I must take a clearly objective viewpoint,
    and at this time I see so justification for trying to create a lynch mob
    mentality against Chief Dillon.  I could write pages on the positive things
    he has achieved for both the police department and the city.   One mistake
    does not erase all of that.   The ACLU will have its day in court and the tax
    payers will suffer the cost as a result.
                I just thought it was important that you hear an objective view
    of this whole incident.   And like I said at the outset, I consider both
    the chief and Dennis to be my friend.   Tom Oosterhoudt
    Declan McCullagh wrote:
    > Gordon Dillon, the Key West, Flordia police chief, arrested a newspaper
    > editor for printing an article that criticized an police investigation.
    > The proper punishment would seem to be arresting Dillon in turn, but,
    > since that doesn't seem likely to happen, I wish the ACLU and the
    > newspaper editor, Dennis Cooper, well in their lawsuit.
    > -Declan
    > ---
    > Background, from Politech archives:
    > "Key West prosecutors drop charges against newspaper publisher"
    > http://www.politechbot.com/p-02221.html
    > "Miami Herald reports Florida cops knew law is unconstitutional"
    > http://www.politechbot.com/p-02185.html
    > "Police arrest newspaper editor for criticizing Florida cops"
    > http://www.politechbot.com/p-02184.html
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