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Woman Says Officer Tried To Sell Her Stuff On Craigslist

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the I-didn't-know-you-still-wanted-that dept.

Idle 35

Quothz writes "Last spring, an Arlington police officer listed his neighbor's athletic gear on Craigslist. After a review, the Tarrant District Attorney's office has decided no crime was committed. 'The law just wasn't there,' says county prosecutor Dixie Bersano. So, Texans, clean up those yards and lock those doors, your stuff is free for the giving."

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35 comments

WTF? (4, Insightful)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29312053)

Gotta love how they ignore a criminal mischief charge when it's another cops ass on the line.  Fucking pigs.

Re:WTF? (3, Informative)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29313049)

criminal mischief charge

Technically, this is worse than an armed robbery: you get charged with all kinds of things if you try to defend your property.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29329703)

You clearly don't know much about Texas law. The owner of said property likely wouldn't have been charged if he shot the people who came onto his lawn. Hooray for the castle doctrine!

Re:WTF? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29325179)

You're being creative and I give you points for that compared to the whole "conspiracy to commit theft" angle that others have taken, but criminal mischief typically involves damage or defacement to property. No harm happened here.

However, I'm thinking that he's perhaps committed wire fraud, since there was a clear intent to deceive based on a material representation through interstate wire facilities. If you could get a federal prosecutor to take the charge seriously, he could be up for 20 years. (Given the nature of the actual harm involved and the harshness of the penalties, I doubt you'd get one to look into prosecuting the case.)

Re:WTF? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329915)

No harm happened here.

Actually, some property was taken despite the owners actively guarding an eye out. Read the article. And no, I'm not talking about the first item, which they actually gave away because they were going to get rid of it anyway. I'm talking about further down the article, their tether-ball thingy.

(Given the nature of the actual harm involved and the harshness of the penalties, I doubt you'd get one to look into prosecuting the case.)

The Feds should get involved. This issue isn't about getting the guy 20 years (give him a two thousand dollar fine and probation for all I care). It's about restoring faith in local police enforcement, and communicating to all other police officers that they are not above the law -- especially when they're acting as private citizens.

This case is important. It's probably far more important than many existing Federal cases out there, simply because of all the repercussions it will have on police enforcement and on the War on Police that's currently going on right now.

If we can actually start dealing fairly with police officers before issues get too far out of hand, then their own jobs will become that much easier and their own safety will become that much better later down the road.

Criminal facilitation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29313121)

the lady needs to take it to the feds against the DA for violation of civil rights for failure to charge the white cop

Re:Criminal facilitation (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29325225)

This is an inherent loser of a case. To make out a claim for malicious prosecution based on racial lines, you'll need to prove discriminatory effect and discriminatory intent. To do this, you'll generally have to find clear examples where the prosecutor has been either pursuing cases on behalf of white victims or against black cops -- enough to establish an actual pattern of bias. Even then, the court will likely defer to prosecutorial discretion if any other explanation would suffice to explain the discrepancy (such as lack of resources, insufficiency of the evidence in the case, etc.). The courts have almost never been willing to step in an act as "super-prosecutors" with responsibility over mandating which cases get brought before them or not.

Re:Criminal facilitation (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 4 years ago | (#29329907)

No, the lady needs to post a whole bunch of the officer's items as free to give away on Craigslist and any other classified website.

If the law says it's OK, then it would be interesting to see what happens when the shoe is on the other foot.

Heh. (2)

Jimmy_Slimmy (1499943) | more than 4 years ago | (#29313663)

suspected perpetrator:

"...Chad Lee Hickey, an Arlington police officer. Arlington Police Department spokesman Blake Miller will say only that the department is conducting an internal investigation of an employee.

Hickey, 29, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Richard Carter, said Arlington police rules prohibit him or Hickey from discussing the allegations."

Just imagine how they would feel if someone pulled that kind of shenanigans on them! I bet between a police officer and a lawyer, they could find a law!

Don't neglect to note that this all happened in Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas- not Arlington, VA.

Re:Heh. (1)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317037)

Don't neglect to note that this all happened in Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas- not Arlington, VA.

Blame the editor for that one - the original headline specified Texas. It also made it more clear that the listing was for free, not a sale - a sale would, according to TFA, be illegal.

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29317143)

Selling other people's stuff without their permission is usually prefaced by taking said items, but I don't see why this should be any different. The guy stole her stuff and sold it. The people who picked it up are in possession of stolen property.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29335423)

Would this be different had placed an ad prostituting the neighbor off instead?

Fault of the owners. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29317179)

If they had never permitted people to remove the items and instead protested the removal of the basketball hoop they would have been able to have the cop prosecuted under conspiracy as an accomplice to the crime of theft. Since the rightful owner did not post the ad the removal of said property from their home would have been theft.
However, as the article says when they confronted people coming to remove the items they permitted them to remove them because they planned to replace them. Their permission negates theft.

The lack of prosecution does not negate the possibility of a civil case for the cost recovery of loss. The fact is the officer is still liable.

The greater failure is if the officer is not terminated for gross misconduct, or ethical deficiencies.

nothing of the sort happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29319539)

they stopped one set of guys from taking basketball hoop, but the tetherball pole was stolen

Don't get mad, get even (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318061)

Post his phone number on the M4M section of craigslist, and see how he feels getting calls from people looking for gay sex at all hours of the day and night! Just don't be so stupid as to use your real email address! I bet that cop would be screaming for blood if somebody did something similar to him.

Re:Don't get mad, get even (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29323497)

Know that section well do you?
 
Come on this is /. you can't expect that post to go by unnoticed.

Re:Don't get mad, get even (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29326917)

Just offer his landscaping for free. Free shrubs, just come dig them up!

Terrible write up, nothing was sold... (2, Interesting)

sllim (95682) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318393)

RTFA:

These people live in a community with a homeowners association. They had some crap in there yard which included a tetherball stand and a movable basketball stand (the kind for driveways). There was some angst in the community that these items didn't belong (anyone that has ever dealt with a homeowners assoc. will understand).

Someone posted an add in Craigslist saying these two items where free for the taking. The add said not to knock on the door, just drive up with the pickup truck, load and leave.

In the Craigslist add the address given was the cops address. It said something to the effect 'next door to this address'.

Nothing in the article attempts to make the claim that the cop placed the add.

However, the victims are Luddites that have never heard of 'Craigslist'. They are black, therefore it is automatically racism.

It is quite possible no charges against the cop where placed because there was no evidence that the cop had anything to do with anything (except living next door to these people).

Re:Terrible write up, nothing was sold... (2, Informative)

Quothz (683368) | more than 4 years ago | (#29318901)

It is quite possible no charges against the cop where placed because there was no evidence that the cop had anything to do with anything (except living next door to these people).

In the second article, you'll see that Craigslist notified her that the posting was placed with an account belonging to her cop neighbor. That's fairly damning evidence.

Re:Terrible write up, nothing was sold... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29319259)

RTFA:

...

Someone posted an add in Craigslist saying these two items where free for the taking. The add said not to knock on the door, just drive up with the pickup truck, load and leave.

In the Craigslist add the address given was the cops address. It said something to the effect 'next door to this address'.

Nothing in the article attempts to make the claim that the cop placed the add.

RTFA? Might wanna take your own advice there sport.

According to a copy of the resignation letter provided by Sherry Huwitt, Hickey apologized "for any and all upset feelings. Due to the items needing to be removed since they were not properly taken care of, I thought of a solution that was wrong to a valid issue. I regret my decision and wish I could take it back."

The cop admitted doing it. He apologized. When the fuck does a cop ever apologize? Those motherfuckers can be totally in the wrong and not apologize. This little shitweasel actually apologized so there might actually be some hope for him as a person.

Re:Terrible write up, nothing was sold... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29320909)

Unfortunately, the "valid issue" that he thought of a solution to was "niggers in his neighborhood", so there's still not that much hope. Since it's Texas, I suppose we should be relieved that his "solution" didn't involve a burning cross or a noose, but that's not much of a standard.

Whatever happened to conspiracy to commit? (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29319295)

This guy arranged to have her stuff stolen, and that is conspiracy.

Conspiracy? (1)

dlthomas (762960) | more than 4 years ago | (#29320413)

What would it be if he simply walked onto their property himself and hauled the stuff to the dump? It's conspiracy to do that.

WRONG? YES. RACIAL? NO. (2, Insightful)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29322023)

Was what the officer did wrong?

YES.

Was it racial?

Most probably not. The (soon to be ex-) officer did not mention race at all, nor did his statement even come close.

"To me, it's racial," said Huwitt, who is black. Hickey is white. "You can look at it any other way, but that's the way I look at it."

-The problem here in America is not so much RACE but people thinking that any negative actions between two people of different races constitutes racism.

Yes, I feel that she was definitely wronged in having her stuff placed up for auction without her consent, but to make a race issue out of it is just plain stupid. She needs to grow the fuck up, stop being ignorant, and educate herself on what race actually is before she starts making charges of racism.

The police department that employs him should kick him to the curb.

Re:WRONG? YES. RACIAL? NO. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29337819)

I agree. First of all, it makes total sense to rely on the statements of the admittedly dishonest perpetrator, since, after all, he is an officer, and he is white, in other words, he has the presumption of being a reasonable person regardless of what he may or may not have done.
Secondly, Since when are white coppers racist? NEVER.
Thirdwise, her calling him racist is utterly worse than any crime that he committed or might have committed. Even if he had shot her or something whilst calling her a blathering black baboon, that's no proof that he's racist,

Racism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29324131)

"To me, it's racial," said Huwitt, who is black. Hickey is white. "You can look at it any other way, but that's the way I look at it."

The article makes no mention of Hickey having a racist history (such as habitually targeting blacks) so I'm running under the presumption there is none, which may be wrong.

However, if there is no other reason to suspect race, then I would in turn call Mrs. Huwitt a racist. Presuming someone's motive or behavior based upon their race, that seems like racism to me. Her saying Mr. Hickey must be 'racist' because he's a White cop seems equivalent to Hickey saying 'she must be too lazy to clean her yard' because she is Black .

I think as any society moves toward parity between minority/majorities, it becomes almost as dangerous to accuse someone of prejudice as the actual act itself; especially when it unfairly undermines previous efforts at reconciliation.

Burden of the reciever? (1)

lukej (252598) | more than 4 years ago | (#29324241)

Neither article mention's what the proper response of the receiver of these goods should have been. If someone told you Walmart was giving away all it's products, would you just go in and load up your cart?

I think the users of Craigslist are naive, much like new email users who believe every spam they receive. There were comments on the DallasNews site from readers to the effect of 'this should be against the law'. But it's not. There is no law against lying (outside of commercial product misrepresentation, lying under oath, etc).

Hopefully, Craigslist users will wise up soon. Get 'Bills-of-Sale', or at least determine the proper owner and get permission for 'free' items.

Re:Burden of the reciever? (1)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29335641)

text of the ad from the first link (emphasis mine):

Free basket ball goal and tether ball pole. At dead end of roadway beside my home...(address) dont knock its placed out there for you to come get. will delete when gone. thanks.

this guy deliberately misrepresented himself as the owner of the property and worded it to lead anyone who might want it to just wander into the yard and take it.

Terrible write up, nothing was sold... (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 4 years ago | (#29335649)

Post his phone number on the M4M section of craigslist, and see how he feels getting calls from people looking for gay sex at all hours of the day and night! Just don't be so stupid as to use your real email address! I bet that cop would be screaming for blood if somebody did something similar to him.

Not Feeling Very Sympathetic (2, Insightful)

do_kev (1086225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29336981)

I'm having a hard time feeling sympathetic.

From TFA:

When the first two men told her about the ad and offered to unload the basketball goal from their truck, Huwitt called her husband.

And yet she says...

"He put my life in danger, and my daughters," she said. "I just ran out there. Those guys could have killed me. "I could have grabbed a shotgun and shot it over nothing," she said. "And he's a police officer. How can he endanger people's lives like that?"

They sound like very dangerous criminals don't they? Thank the lord she had the "incredible" self restraint to go and talk to the gentlemen first before firing the aforementioned shotgun. Here's the clincher, though:

"To me, it's racial," said Huwitt, who is black. Hickey is white. "You can look at it any other way, but that's the way I look at it."

Right, because anytime a white person harms a black person, it's racism. Let's just ignore the fact that white people get into confrontations with one another all the time.

It sounds to me like she's a little crazy (for the shotgun comment,) and probably quite a difficult woman to live beside (given her irrational propensity to insist that this must have been an act of racism.) I'm not saying that the officer was right to do what he did, but I'd be very surprised if, on some level, she hadn't provoked this.

Race? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29383715)

There is only one race... the HUMAN race. There are many ethnicities, but that is different.

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