Small Town Cop Wins First Amendment Battle: Nobody Cares
I blogged about the small amount of media coverage someone in Renton, WA got when he made cartoons airing the dirty laundry of their police department. The few reporters that did cover it didn’t seem to understand that the protagonist, Mr. Fiddlesticks, is a police officer.
Like me, the leadership of the Renton PD is clear that Mr. Fiddlesticks is on the job. They’ve charged him with cyberstalking the police department in an attempt to force disclosure of his identity through IP tracking. Think about what I just wrote: criticizing a police department on the internet can now constitute cyberstalking.
Or can it? According to a Renton Patch article, Judge James Cayce had to backpedal, staying his own warrant. "[Law professor Ronald] Collins said a judge issuing a stay of his or her own search warr[a]nt is exceptionally rare. But, he added, this might be good time to do it. ‘It's not well-grounded.’”
Don't get too excited for our hero, Officer Fiddlesticks. The fat lady has yet to sing. Check out in this interview with the Patch regarding ongoing investigations:
Chief [Kevin Milosevich] - In regards to the one video that we were aware of … the people who were involved had been identified within the department and have been disciplined this year, including the demotion of two Police employees Charles Marsalisi (from Deputy Chief to Sergeant…) and Bill Judd (from Sergeant to Officer…).
Comm. Dir. [Preeti Shridhar] - *And that was an internal matter not linked at all to this recent search warrant or the potential cyberstalking.*"
I'm confused. It's not clear whether they suspect those two of Fiddlestickery or were finally forced to prosecute their misconduct because of the cartoons.
If Marsalisi and Judd are the the ones portrayed in the cartoons, Officer Fiddlesticks put his butt on the line and did you a real solid. Understand that these officers live in a top-down society. The color of your shirt announces your position in the hierarchy. It’s hard to get in, and even harder to stay in. After you survive the academy, you earn rank with your blood, sweat and tears. In context, these demotions are brutal, financially painful and publicly humiliating.
Mr. Fiddlesticks’ complaints are the kind of things that would make citizens’ heads explode if they knew. That’s why they’re coming for him.