Many months ago I asked radio talk show host, Keri Rodrigues, if she was interested in guest blogging here on A View From Battleship Cove. . Today she asked me if she could write a post about a subject that she wanted to share. What follows is Keri's words, Keri's opinion, and Keri's story. - Lefty
"To Protect and Serve?" by Keri Rodrigues
I’m often approached by people in the community for help with situations – when they feel they have no where else to turn. From people who are fighting with their neighbors – to people trying to fight city hall – I get a lot of requests from people for advice and assistance in a multitude of situations.
A lot of these things I don’t discuss on the air, because frankly, they’re boring. Sometimes only the individuals involved would care about what’s happening – or sometimes the situation is too personal to disclose. Either way – I always give it my best shot.
That being said, there are occasions where it’s necessary to share these situations with the general public. This is one of those situations.
A couple of weeks ago I was approached by a guy we’ll call “Rob”. Rob emailed me to tell me about a situation involving his wife and the Fall River Police Department. Apparently one Sunday afternoon, his wife was driving their car out of a parking lot in the city – when a police officer – driving at a high rate of speed – IN REVERSE – struck their car doing $2000 worth of damage.
Here’s the original email:
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 11:32 AM
To: Keri Rodrigues
You have no idea who I am. So let me start with my Name Rob ***** Fall
River native My wife Is Janet I'm 42 my wife Janet is 40 now that this
is out of the way . I need advice on a situation that took place
yesterday morning @ 10:30 It was a car accident involving a Fall River
police officer and my wife. my wife was sitting still in her vehicle and a cruiser backed
into her......at the time of the accident the officer exited his vehicle
looked at what he did said Oh sh.t , went back to his vehicle called his
acting seargent and he went to the site , by the time this seargent was
done , it was my wifes fault she hit him bla bla bla and of course the
police report reflects what the seargent cited her for.
Now I know most husbands would say my wife is honest regardless , Kerri
My wife and I are very honest people and would not lie about something
like this it would be senseless to lie about an accident with a cop .
Its the point of it. We dont friends in high places to fix this mess so
I'm asking for your advice on this one , they wont let me speak to the
chief I tried that this morning. Kerri I'm pretty much at a loss on
this. I have to give credit to my wife she just took the ticket and
continued on to work, See my wife is African American and she knows
better than I when and where to cause a scene and this was one of those
times she just went on her way .
Thanks for listening
I called Rob and got all the details of the story and suggested that Rob call the Chief – Jack Sousa – directly, in an effort to get someone to at least take a look at the police report and get their side of the story. Rob then wrote me back:
Sent: Mon 3/3/2008 8:02 PM
To: Keri Rodrigues
My wife and I just came back from the police station , We talked to a
supervisor, nice guy but he didn’t help much, I was fed bad information
this morning by someone who claimed to be the assistant to the chief
...... Apparently Police officers cant talk about each other in cases
like this , our next step is internal affairs, Kerri its a false police
report it makes my wife look like she is at complete fault , it actually
has the cruiser traveling up the street which is bogus . If I didn't
know my wife and I looked at this report I would say guilty as sin. Its
funny I was raised to believe the police were honest, upstanding da da
da.....Never in a million years did I ever imagine this, Its disgusting
and totally unnecessary, its a minor accident, though its going to cost us
about $1700.00 to fix give or take a few . My wife hasn’t really gotten
mad as of yet. We really can’t afford to hire a lawyer, so we may end up
having to go about this on our own.
P.S. you sometimes say on your program to contact the chief if you have a
problem , you may want to update that...... they wont let you near him.
phone or in person +
THANKS AGAIN FOR LISTENING
After hearing back from Rob, I really started to get mad. After all – what does it take to have a conversation with citizens who are concerned about the way they’ve been treated. So I picked up the phone and called the Office of Professional Standards directly (a.k.a. Internal Affairs) – and talked with one of the top guys to explain the situation. They pulled the police report – and very quickly dismissed the idea that the police officer could be at fault. I asked that they fax me the report – and then asked them to call Rob and his wife directly to address the issue. I also told them I would be following this very closely – and explained that I really believed what these people were telling me to be true. They promised to follow up … and moments later, Rob got a call.
A meeting was set up for later in the week:
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2008 6:20 PM
To: Keri Rodrigues
Hi Kerri ,
Just a heads up, my wife and I had a meeting with internal affairs, they reconstructed the accident this afternoon. I'm not totally sure I like what took place as far as that was concerned ,but I will say both Moriarty and the other internal affairs officer looked at the damage and shook there heads with disbelief or so it seemed , I don’t really think we would have gotten as far as we did without your help. I will let you know the results.
I followed up with Rob a couple of days later – as he was told he’d get an answer in the mail.
Sent: Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:56 PM
To: Keri Rodrigues
We won, I cant believe it.....no questions we won , her ticket is going to be nullified. Kerri thank you so much you should be hearing from my wife as well.
This story has a happy ending … but how many other Fall River citizens have been the victims of police writing up false reports to cover their own asses? How many citizens have been forced to take it on the chin – because they didn’t know how – or didn’t have the juice to get someone to listen to the REAL story? What happens when you don’t have a Keri Rodrigues to butt in and make trouble?
Police officers who abuse their authority – and file false police report should face immediate disciplinary action – and should also face possible charges for abusing their positions. And the Fall River Police Department should be more receptive to complaints from citizens who are concerned about the actions of their officers – without the assistance of nosey talk show hosts.