07 December 2013

Pennsylvania Man Arrested For Saying, "Wow."

It was the 26th of June, 2012.  

Dennis Henderson's exclamation of surprise when a speeding patrol car passed close to him as he was standing on the side of a road outside a community meeting precipitated a confrontation with the driver, Officer Jonathon Gromek of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. 

Gromek u-turned and walked back to where Henderson and a photographer were standing and asked if they had a problem with the way he was driving.  Henderson answered truthfully and added that he wanted a badge number so he could file a complaint.  Officer Gromek then demanded identification and handcuffed the two.  More cops arrived.  The photographer was released but Dennis went downtown to spend the night in county lockup for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The arrest was obviously bogus and the city dropped the charges against the teacher and investigated Gromek and found his conduct "unbecoming and incompetent" and contrary to police bureau policies, and said so in a letter to Henderson.

The ACLU is helping him sue the Bureau for violating his First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.  Henderson sees the suit as a way to teach his social studies students about civil liberties (and how not to talk to belligerent cops.)

It is also a lesson on how It doesn't pay to be thin-skinned as a police officer.
Or maybe on how police should develop a little horse sense.  

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