Monday, January 31, 2011

Overzealous Law Enforcement: Fairbanks Cop Dustin Stonecipher Arrests Good Samaritan Joshua Burks For Urinating In Public After Burks Assisted Accident Victims

Normally I'm reluctant to second-guess cops; I've never been a cop and can't pretend to understand the pressures of the job and the relatively narrow line of discretion they must walk. But I've got to second-guess this decision.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that a Fairbanks police officer arrested a "Good Samaritan" who had stopped to render assistance to victims of a traffic accident. On January 23rd, 2011, Joshua Burks and a companion encountered an accident scene where a Ford F-150 driven by a drunk collided head on with a Chevrolet Avalanche. Adam Strom, the Avalanche driver, had suffered a broken leg and was going into shock; outside temperatures were -20F. Burks called 911, then covered Strom with their coats until police and medical personnel arrived. Fairbanks Police Officer Dustin Stonecipher asked the two Good Samaritans to hang around in order to provide statements.

But Joshua Burks has a bad bladder, and after 30 minutes, couldn't hold it any more. So he stepped behind his truck to take a whiz. But the cop's cruiser was parked behind Burks' truck, and when Stonecipher saw Burks whizzing, he cited him. Instead of fighting the misdemeanor charge, Burks decided to pay the $150 fine. Too bad, but he probably would have spent more than $150 to get himself exonerated; that's one of the flaws of the justice system. Only those who have an exceptionally strong sense of personal honor are willing to spend money to defend it from judicial predation. Burks does have a prior record of petty offenses, but has committed no infractions during the past five years.

Update: On February 9th, the News-Miner reported that charges against Burks will be rescinded and the man will not have to pay a $150 fine. Fairbanks City Mayor Jerry Cleworth asked Police Chief Laren Zager to look into the case. Zager determined that it was overzealous enforcement and informed the mayor, who in turn apologized to Burks. Officer Stonecipher will not be disciplined or sanctioned. Win-win situation for all!

While Officer Stonecipher's dedication to public order is admirable, he could have given Joshua Burks a pass under the circumstances. This is the type of overzealous behavior that generates negative attitudes towards cops. Believe it or not, public reaction is actually mixed; here's a sampling of representative comments from both sides:

In support of Officer Stonecipher:

AlaskaTea wrote on Monday, Jan 31 at 10:08 AM:
...This officer is out there risking his life to keep this town safe. All he is doing is enforcing the law! It's not his fault that the felon broke a law by urinating in public. Personally, I'd rather have a piss-free street. {snip}

This story is one sided and we don't know the other half of the story. Burks could have simply told an officer that he needed to relieve himself before doing so between his truck and the patrol car. Maybe Burks was aiming towards the patrol car while he was doing his business...

The law is the law! It was nice of Burks to help out but it doesn't give him the right to just piss any where he feels like. I would like to thank Officer Stonecipher because I do know he risks his life when on the job and also has to deal with stupid people every day such as Aunt_Pam. It was probably on his priority list but there are other calls that officers have to respond to also. There is only an X amount of time that they have while on duty. I don't see any of you out there risking your life like Stonecipher is.

Snwbny wrote on Monday, Jan 31 at 03:01 PM
Officer Stonecipher should not have to explain himself for arresting someone who broke the law. It's a simple concept, don't break the law, and you won't get arrested. If you do break the law and get arrested, own up to it, don't whine about it because you don't think it's fair. The urinating in public law is a good law. I don't want to see someone pissing outside walmart or a bar or at a crime scene. I know for a fact that when cops do catch people urinating in public it's because it's in the open. Just like Burks. Just because he went behind his truck doesn't mean he was trying to hide it from anyone, just the guys in the truck. This would be different if it was a woman who had to pee. Everyone would think it was gross.

In support of Joshua Burks:

gunnersteedhorn wrote on Monday, Jan 31 at 04:03 PM:
hey Snbny, he did try hide it, thats WHY he went behind the truck-DUH. if he was trying to be discusting about it he could have just whipped it out and pissed in the street. And maybe you would like to explain your logic here- The cop told him he had to remain in his truck, he waited there for a half hour, he had to piss, there were no bathrooms available, what was he suposed to do?

AKborn&bred wrote on Monday, Jan 31 at 07:30 AM:
Badge heavy. He's one of those guys on a power trip because he's in uniform. I just hope that if I'm ever in an accident, god forbid, that there's a guy like Joshua there to keep me from going into shock and he can piss right in front of me for all I care, as long as I live.

4 comments:

  1. So, what is the job of policemen these days? It is not “to serve and protect”, unless this refers to ‘serve
    and protect the World Banksters’. Their sole purpose is to collect revenue for the interest on the debt due to
    the bankruptcy. They are no longer ‘Peace Officers’. The Motor Vehicle Dept./ Dept. of Transportation
    (MVD/DOT) are under the Tax and Revenue Dept. What does this tell you? This is why there are so many
    idiotic statutes which are a result of Admiralty Law which simply do not apply to living souls; they apply to
    corporate entities. So how is it we get stuck with the fine if the statutes don’t apply to us?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Laws cannot do anything but protect the life, liberty, property, and rights of a living soul. Laws are to
    serve us; we are not here to serve laws. “if your laws don’t protect me, your laws do not apply to me.” So,
    yes, we are above the ‘law’(when the word ‘law’ refers to ‘statutes’).
    The problem is now statutes.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Statutes are compelling. They seem to tell us everything we are obliged to
    do and everything we can’t do. Statutes have replaced the true ONE LAW. Where before, we could be
    found guilty for actively breaking the only law there was we can now be found guilty for doing ‘nothing’ –
    meaning neglecting to perform precisely as the statute dictates. Since there are so many, this will occur
    automatically just in the affairs of daily life.
    That cliché, ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse’ was true when ‘the law’ to which it referred was the
    only law we were required to know. But since that one law no longer exists, except in our hearts, that cliché
    now applies only to statutes. ‘Ignorance of the statutes is no excuse.’ Ignorance of the statutes is EVERY
    excuse because there are 60,000,000 of them, 59,999,973 of which no one has informed you. Trust me, you
    are guilty of ‘disobeying’ some, if not many.
    What happened? Attorneys make up statutes. So a few questions come to mind.
    1. To whom do these statutes apply?
    2. Who benefits when one does not adhere to statutes?
    3. What is the purpose of having so many statutes, codes, rules, regulations, ordinances, legislation in the
    first place?
    4. Since when can attorneys make laws? – rather, statutes?
    5. Isn’t law-making the job of gov’t?
    6. Why would any representative of the people enact statutes which don’t serve his constituents?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Flash! Jenny just called me to tell of two more serious "incidents" at other schools which are in the process of being hushed up, as are the AIDS statistics of the young Blacks your daughters are dying to bed down with. Those old voodoo drums made them do it. Niggers, like jews, know they are special citizens but old Whitey acts as if this were 1890 and he was still in the driver's seat.

    ReplyDelete