Last week I wrote about James who called the show after Palm Bay PD had shown up at his door at 7:30 Wednesday morning to inquire about his political social media posts.He was surprised.I was shocked.
This week we received copies of what PBPD says they have on file.I see a record of dispatch of the officers with arrival and departure times, but it notes that no report was filed.That surprises me even more.
On my department we filed a report on nearly every action we took, especially if was labeled investigative time as this report was.The information request was for any records pertaining to this incident.The dispatch log and a cover letter were all that were received.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees and protects speech free from government retribution.Political speech is in the top rung of speech that is protected in our country.When the government in the persons of police officers comes inquiring about political speech alarm bells go off.When there is no report of the activity, no listing of the complainant, no report of officer actions with the “suspect” I become concerned.
I am concerned for the citizenry and the police officers.The concern for citizens is obvious.If the government is beginning to investigate political speech, where is the complaining witness and is it potentially someone in that government?
As for the police officers, documentation of their actions is essential.If there is court hearing or deposition at a later time, and some suits take many years to reach a courtroom, undocumented events will not be recalled or are at risk of inaccurate recollection.Why the officer went, what the officer learned and what results of the contact were will all be in question.No recollection of these details is unacceptable and could subject the officer, the agency and the government entity to liability and maybe more for a violation of civil rights.
It started as surprise and has piled disappointment on top of it all.I hope PBPD gets better than this…and fast.
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