Fire Chief Shot in Court Over Tickets
Yes, that headline is not an exaggeration. The Chief of the Jericho Fire Department went to court and was shot by the police for disputing two tickets requiring two trips to the court house.
JERICHO, Ark. — It was just too much, having to return to court twice on the same day to contest yet another traffic ticket, and Fire Chief Don Payne didn’t hesitate to tell the judge what he thought of the police and their speed traps.
The response from cops? They shot him. Right there in court.
Now the police chief has disbanded his force “until things calm down,” a judge has voided all outstanding police-issued citations and sheriff’s deputies are asking where all the money from the tickets went. With 174 residents, the city can keep seven police officers on its rolls but missed payments on police and fire department vehicles and saw its last business close its doors a few weeks ago.
“You can’t even buy a loaf of bread, but we’ve got seven police officers,” said former resident Larry Harris, who left town because he said the police harassment became unbearable.
But lets not be hasty, these brave men in blue are putting their lives on the line after all.
“When I first moved out here, they wrote me a ticket for going 58 mph in my driveway,” 75-year-old retiree Albert Beebe said.
Well obviously Albert Beebe was going 58 miles per hour in his drive way because why would the police lie. Oh…wait, they aren’t sure where all the traffic fine money went, hmmmm….
It was anger over traffic tickets that brought Payne to city hall last week, said his lawyer, Randy Fishman. After Payne failed to get a traffic ticket dismissed on Aug. 27, police gave Payne or his son another ticket that day. Payne, 39, returned to court to vent his anger to Judge Tonya Alexander, Fishman said.
It’s unclear exactly what happened next, but Martin said an argument between Payne and the seven police officers who attended the hearing apparently escalated to a scuffle, ending when an officer shot Payne from behind.
I’m sure it was totally justified and in line with departmental policies. After all, who knows Payne might have had a pencil or paper clip on him. Those are danerous weapons you know.
Prosecutor Lindsey Fairley said Thursday that he didn’t plan to file any felony charges against the officer or Payne. Fairley, reached at his home, said Payne could face a misdemeanor charge stemming from the scuffle, but that would be up to the city’s judge. He said he didn’t remember the name of the officer who fired the shot.
What a shock the prosecutor backs up the cop who discharges his gun at an unarmed person in a crowded room and also wounds a fellow cop in the process. Police professionalism at its highest.
Alexander, the judge, has voided all the tickets written by the department both inside the city and others written outside of its jurisdiction — citations that the department apparently had no power to write. Alexander, who works as a lawyer in West Memphis, resigned as Jericho’s judge in the aftermath of the shooting, Fairley said. She did not return calls for comment.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies want to know where the money from the traffic fines went. Martin said that it appeared the $150 tickets weren’t enough to protect the city’s finances. Sheriff’s deputies once had to repossess one of the town’s police cruisers for failure to pay on a lease, and the state Forestry Commission recently repossessed one of the city’s fire trucks because of nonpayment.
City hall has been shuttered since the shooting, and any records of how the money was spent are apparently locked inside. No one answered when a reporter knocked on the door on Tuesday.
So lets do a quick recap.
- The police shot an unarmed man from behind when in scuffle with 6 other police officers.
- No charges will be brought against the police officer from the local prosecutor.
- Nobody knows where the money from the various speeding tickets went.
- The police were writing tickets outside their jurisdiction.
- City Hall is shut down.
Anyone doubt that the cops saw this as their own private racket and were using the tickets to line their own pockets? And what is up with the police officers in Jericho? Are they all totally out of shape morons that couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag? Six of them are scuffling with one man and they can’t subdue him and the seventh feels he has the justification to shoot the “perp”?