We haven’t posted very much on the Sidney Lowe, II issue or the Larry Harris arrest for speeding. (ARREST!! for speeding. Happens every day, doesn’t it?)
Today we have some new information and relevant items to share.
First, Sid II. We’ve been pretty pleased with the media’s approach to this story. There hasn’t been an unjustified obsession with the issue – someone must have told Barry Saunders to move along. It has been handled with appropriate focus and framing of the issue. The N&O ran a pretty good piece on the Sid II issue over the weekend that you can read by clicking here.
Second, Coach Harris. From the first day after Coach Harris was arrested for speeding SFN started hearing lots of interesting stories about the arresting officer (Officer King). We didn’t share a lot at the time, but we tipped our hand a little last week with our “Stand Behind Coach Harris” entry
At this point, we need to highlight that 850TheBuzz deserves major applause for the manner in which they initially ran the story. This link will take you to their entry at the time. Taking a page from the Duke Lacrosse Lesson Book, they should be commended for keeping their head about them from the start:
Without seeing the arrest report, it’s hard to know exactly what it was that turned a simple stop for speeding into a full-fledged booking. As someone that appreciates the job that cops do and who has a retired state trooper in the family, I’m all about law and order…but I would caution anyone jumping on Harris right away. Keep in mind, sometimes La Policia can react poorly if they’re met with even the slightest bit of attitude…so this might even be something that isn’t totally Harris’ fault…
…Seriously?!? How does 41 in a 25 equal the back of a squad car? When did Eric Cartman start working for the Raleigh P.D.? Respect my author-it-TAH!
As this issue evolved, we were VERY pleased to see Coach Harris take the offensive and file a complaint against the officer. Such a move sends an obvious message of Coach Harris’ complete belief in his innocence.
But, in today’s world such a move sends a HUGE signal to the public because of the existence of videotape. You see, policemen have video cameras in their cars, and this traffic stop – like so many others – was video recorded. With that in mind…do you really think that Coach Harris would file a complaint if the facts of the situation did not support such a move?
Additionally, what kind of a statement is sent by the fact that this video tape has not been made public by the Raleigh Police Department? I can bet you all of the season tickets that you can give away that if the video tape proved that RPD was justified in their actions that it would have quickly been released and this story would have gone away.
That hasn’t happened. That is very telling. Especially in light of media scrutiny regarding the topic like this article in the N&O.
Across North Carolina, the misdemeanor charge commonly called RDO ends in a conviction less than half the time. Nearly 140,000 of the charges were filed statewide in a 4 1/2-year period. Forty-six percent of those charges were subsequently dismissed by prosecutors, according to statistics from the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts. The more serious felony crime of assault on a law enforcement officer had 1,264 charges filed in the same time period, with 22 percent of them dismissed.
Today, we received a little more information about the Harris traffic stop that we thought was time to share. The following is a paraphrased recount of a conversation that we had today with someone in the know that is very consistent with other pieces of information that we have picked-up over the last week –
The arresting officer, King, has quite a reputation as a real ass-hole. His uncle is supposedly on the force in a position of power and it is widely speculated that this is the reason King has the job to begin with. Over time a belief has grown that King has been protected by his uncle in past problems.
Within the last year, a District Court Judge caught King lying on the stand and filed a complaint with Internal Affairs. Let’s just say that the results of the investigation were met with significant dissatisfaction inside of the chambers of a lot of the judiciary in Raleigh.
The story that most are hearing has King approaching Coach Harris very aggressively and ordering Harris out of the car. Coach Harris felt uncomfortable and requested that King call for additional officer support because he did not like where the exchange was going.
Supposedly, the tape shows King laughing while saying that his suspect wants backup. When the second squad car arrived, Harris clearly identified to King that he was now going to step out of the car and King sprayed Harris with friggin pepper spray before Coach could get out of the car. Word has it that pepper spray is all over the INSIDE of Coach Harris’ car…which would not be good since it is hard for a suspect to be ‘dangerous’ and a menace if they are still inside of their car.