January 9, 2017 (Fault Lines) — Helping your elderly neighbors can take many forms. It could be as simple as lending a hand with bags of groceries, mowing a lawn, taking time to listen to some tales of “the good old days” or plowing some snow so your neighbors can safely get in and out of their driveways.
This is what Pocatello Idaho resident Mitch Fisher was doing when he was approached by a jerkoff with a badge local police officer and given a $200 citation for depositing injurious material on right of way.
Reading this ordinance, it’s readily apparent that snow-plowing wasn’t the focus at all but rather that pesky, injurious practice of gardeners blowing leaves and grass clippings from one place to another rather than raking them up and disposing of them properly. Maybe they had a few itinerate furniture and appliance dumpers in mind as well, but snow would only count if you dropped it in the middle of the road. Fisher did no such thing, as he piled it in front of his own curb.
Fisher was briefly profiled in a news segment about the snowfall, and in the video it’s clear that the snowfall is quite unmanageable and there was no sign of any plowing having been done by the city.
Here you have a man engaged in helping his community, making the street safer, performing a needed public service that the city apparently was not accomplishing, only to be accosted by an armed revenue agent who claimed he was:
Just doing my job.
Local residents who took to Facebook after Fisher posted about the incident took a fairly dim view of the officer’s actions. Among the choicer comments were:
At least this criminal didn’t give a homeless person a sandwich.
It’s easier to catch some ordinary citizen trying to help others than real dangerous criminal.
Sounds like they should fire a cop with too much time on his hands and use that money to hire a snowplow contractor.
Inept city hacks hate competition. I saw a neighbor with a plow accomplish more in our neighborhood in 1/2 an hour than the city has all year.
Police officers are allowed to use their discretion. This officer chose to hand out a ticket, and with it he handed a black eye to the entire department because there’s no ambiguity here. No “the suspect might have had a gun” or “Suspect had an extensive criminal record.” It’s simply “Good guy trying to help gets a ticket from jerkoff with a badge cop.
It is circumstances like these that give those who would normally be staunch police supporters a bad disposition towards cops. This, in turn, leads cops to cry their imaginary “War on Cops” slogan: “Poor us for doing our jobs, people are mean and Black Lives Matter caused this.”
Was this a case of a cop just being a jerk or was he actually doing his job after being instructed to go out and get some revenue for the city? Does Pocatello have an epidemic of unofficial snow removers? According to the local police stenographer, the Idaho State Journal, Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand defended his officer saying:
It is a safety issue for all drivers on the road. I have directed officers who are investigating complaints or who observe people moving snow from private property into city streets to issue citations if the citizens do not want to comply with the ordinance.”
This cop tapped into a vein of outrage in his city and now it has national attention because the cops had to cite a guy moving a minute amount of snow with a blade attached to his ATV.
I hope the city enjoys its $206.00 windfall.