Different Rules for Different Classes of Citizens

Here is a good example of how being an “LEO” (Law Enforcement Officer for those of you not in the know) means getting treated differently than the rest of us. If one of the non-LEO readers here were to have allegations of sexual assault leveled against him by two separate women he’d likely be arrested. He might get out on bail if he can afford the bail. If you’re a cop, why you don’t get arrested, you don’t lose your job, you get to keep working (admittedly riding a desk), and you have your own buddies in Internal Affairs doing the investigation.

HER BACK PRESSED against the wall, Dagma Rodriguez stood in a dark bedroom as Officer Thomas Tolstoy moved closer. She trembled in fear.

It was just after 5 p.m. on April 3, 2008, during a drug raid on the West Kensington rowhouse where she lived. Tolstoy had ordered her into the room, telling her that he needed to talk, she said.

“He started rubbing my breasts, rubbing my nipples,” said Rodriguez, a 33-year-old mother of three. “I was so scared. My legs wouldn’t stop shaking.”

Rodriguez said she grabbed Tolstoy’s wrists to try to make him stop. He didn’t, she said.

” ‘You’ve got some big t–s. I love these t–s. I bet you’ve got big bras. What size are you?’ ” she said he asked. ” ‘Can I see them? Let me see them.’ ”

“I said, ‘No! No!’ I was so nervous, I started crying. He told me to shut the f— up . . . . He kept rubbing me and I started crying more.”

Rodriguez is one of at least three women, including Lady Gonzalez, of Kensington, who say they were fondled and groped by an officer. Rodriguez and Gonzalez later identified the officer as Tolstoy. Police sources say that Tolstoy is also the focus of an investigation into the third woman’s complaint.

Officer Tolstoy works with officer Jeffrey Cujdik who is also under investigation for another string of incidents involving mom-&-pop stores where the cops would reportedly come into the store, disable the security cameras and then take cash and goods from the store. They were pretty good at it too until they ran into one guy who was into tech stuff and set up his camera system to record at his home and part of the raid was captured.

Neither, Cujdik, Tolstoy nor any of the other officers involved have been arrested. They are being investigated. If these guys weren’t cops they’d have been arrested already.

More on Cujdik and his gang here.

More: Dave Krueger, commenting at Radley Balko’s site, noted that the article refers to the incident as “misconduct”. If one of the non-LEO readers here were to be involved in a similar situation it would be called sexual assault. And note that they’ve shown this thug a thing or two, they took away his gun and put him on a desk (as noted by Michael Chaney, another commenter at Mr. Balko’s site). Both good points, IMO. And here is the real reason Tolstoy is on a desk,

“Until we investigate further, we don’t want him taking police action,” DiLacqua said. “We don’t want to expose the city to other accusations or to any liability or risk.”

Not that he is a threat to the public, but because he might cost Philidelphia’s public coffers more money if they let this guy run around continuing like he has. Government you can believe in.

FILED UNDER: Government, Law and the Courts, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:
  2. Bithead says:
  3. Steve Verdon says:

    Oh, so nothing to worry about then. Please….

  4. Eric Florack says:

    Well, no, that wasn’t my point.
    Indeed, rather the opposite.

    I know something of the situation I linked, you see, and I suspect there’s far more to the situation I linked, to say no more.

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Well, no, that wasn’t my point.
    Indeed, rather the opposite.

    Well you’ll have to forgive, it is rare for a case involving some sort of LEO to get to that point, hence my initial reaction.

  6. Gustopher says:

    Just to play devil’s advocate, wouldn’t an LEO who interacts with assorted scumbags all day be more likely to be the victim of false complaints?

    The scumbags in question might be trying to discredit the testimony of an officer who arrested them, or just spitefully trying to hurt the officer and his or her career.

    Separating the scumbags from actual victims of crimes committed by the police is likely to be non-trivial.

  7. Steve Verdon says:

    Gustopher,

    The informant is now claiming the initial claims that the warrant was based on are a lie.

    Link

    Cujdik is at the center of a joint federal and local investigation that arose after Martinez claimed in a Daily News article that Cujdik told him to lie about some drug buys so that the officer could obtain search warrants to enter homes of suspected drug dealers.

    Here is Cujdik’s attorney,

    Cujdik’s attorney, George Bochetto, has said the allegations are untrue and are based on the word of a “professional liar.”

    So Cujdik was trusting a professional liar as his confidential informant. A rather incompetent police officer and at the very least should be fired.

    He [Cujdik] emerged with a teddy bear that he said contained a small pouch secreted inside. That pouch contained 47 packets of cocaine.

    Police also seized $560 from a bedroom dresser, McDonnell testified.

    Gonzalez and Nunez swear they had roughly $1,000, mostly in large bills, that they’d squirreled away for rent and Christmas presents.

    Gee sounds just like the mom-&-pop grocery stores…geee what a coincidence.

    Yeah, Cujdik is the victim.

  8. Eric Florack says:

    Well you’ll have to forgive, it is rare for a case involving some sort of LEO to get to that point, hence my initial reaction.

    (Shrug)
    What, you think I don’t know? Nothing to it. I was concentrating on the actions of the police, not necessarily the response of the police hierarchy, and the courts. The reaction to the crimes are certainly problematic. Of larger concern, however are the crimes themselves.

    The other story coming out of that same police department that may interest you, is with regards to another cop… A sergeant, I think. High on Coke, driving his personal vehicle, he backsides a stalled car in the middle of the outer loop (I-390) causing a pregnant woman to go into premature labor. Recognizing that he is burned toast if he sticks around, he takes off, leaves the scene of the accident, and it takes several hours for the local constabulary to admit that one of its own has been involved in the wreck. By that time of course, the DUI is legally questionable at least.

    At the moment, that particular case has caused an investigation into the conduct of the entire department who was on duty that night. At issue, were they covering for him? Well, no duh.

    I’m annoyed, because our member time when that particular Police department was something special, as such things go.

    That said, though, The question comes up; what causes all this?

    It seems to me the trying to get a bad cop fired, has approximately the same chance to it as getting a bad teacher fired, or perhaps a city councilman and former mayor arrested for his crimes, (The bitch set me up!) or a congressman with cash in his freezer.

    Don’t mistake my comment for making excuses for the cops in question.

    But I do wonder two things. In the case of the police, I have to wonder how much of what we see here is procedure established by union -agreed upon -work -rules. Certainly, that’s the case with trying to get bad teachers fired. I wonder if agreeing to this nonsense, we’ve asked for these kind of incidents to occur.

    And secondly, how much of it is bad policy set forward with the purpose of staying out of lawsuit territory?

    Frankly, though, I think we’re foolish if we ignore that there’s a trend here that involves far more than just the guys in the blue uniforms. This is by no means a case of not enough law, and not enough oversight. This is a situation in all these cases of too much law, and too much power in the hands of those enforcing it. It’s true enough that 20 and 40 years ago, there was less of the incidence of this kind of thing. Then again, and we were better people, then, too. Finding someone for the job of ‘policeman’ who was brave, honest, and true, was far less of a task, back in the day, because it was far less rare to find such a person in the general population. We got away with a degree of power in the hands of the police that we did, for that reason.

    Those days, I fear, are passed.

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