December 29, 2007

Topless Woman Lured Perverts in Police Sting

Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.

He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.

Eventually, she asked to see Garrison’s penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.

Y’know, it’ll take a lot more than that for me. Not that you cared… but it is amazing how quick people will show their goods.

Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city’s parks, exposing more than that is against the law.

And why are they so worried about misdemeanors anyways?

In New York City, nearly 300 people, many of whom had no criminal record, have been snared this year through the NYPD’s Operation Lucky Bag, in which undercover officers leave a wallet, iPod or cell phone in a subway station and wait to see who picks it up.

“It’s pretty straightforward that this is a police-created crime,” said Legal Aid Society lawyer Alex Lesman, who defended a man arrested for taking a bag containing an Xbox video game box, a Sprint cell phone and cash. “The police set this whole thing up. They shouldn’t be doing that and luring people in that situation….

“The police should concentrate their noble efforts on behalf of the city on countering real crimes committed every day,” wrote Kings County criminal court judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. “They do not need to manipulate a situation where temptation may overcome even people who would normally never think of committing a crime.”

And we wonder why people don’t respect or trust the police?

Other lawyers have argued on behalf of their clients that the operation may also violate New York’s personal property law, which allows someone who finds property worth more than $25 10 days to turn it in to the owner or the police.

Nice of them to give you time to turn things in.

“The definition of entrapment is police activity that induces somebody to commit a crime that they otherwise wouldn’t do,” said Gabriel Chin, law professor at the University of Arizona. “It’s not entrapment to give somebody an opportunity to commit a crime.”

Chin explains that entrapment involves an officer cajoling and persuading someone who’s resistant to the idea of committing a crime. “Just preying on a predisposition is not necessarily entrapment.”

What next? Putting little kiddies out there to trap the child molesters too? Just how far are they willing to go to nab someone for the ‘public good’ or some other fine reason? Isn’t there enough real crime for them to solve than to create it? Or is this just a creative way to line the city’s coffers? It’s much easier and faster to plant bait than to solve a real crime, no?

Remember the good ol’ days when we could trust each other? *sigh* And isn’t it amazing how certain groups complain about the rights that are being limited by Bushco but seem to ignore (or is it that they don’t care?) about the rights at the state/local level?

Too many laws, not enough rights.