Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Free speech isn't free. It's not even cheap

From the Massachusetts Eagle-Tribune, a story about the Lawrence, MA police:

LAWRENCE — They were real looking enough. Three wooden plaques each embossed with a gold police shield, a small gun piece and each engraved with an officer's name.

But these "plaques" sent to the police department Sunday were no awards. They came from a bogus address in Puerto Rico, supposedly sent from a former assistant district attorney and were in recognition for the officers being "corrupt." They were dated "9-11-2007."

As first reported on The Eagle-Tribune's Web site yesterday, police Chief John Romero has launched an investigation into who sent the packages. He said police are contemplating criminal charges, possibly at the federal level. Police yesterday dusted the plaques for fingerprints. Romero was one of the recipients of the so-called award.

Lawrence police also notified the postal inspector in Boston. The sender could face federal charges for using the U.S. Postal Service "to threaten, harass or intimidate," Romero said.
So let's see if I've got this story straight. An anonymous citizen accused the police in this town of being corrupt, and the police reacted by abusing their authority and using official resources to silence him or her.

Now Norwalk's had more than its share of police scandals recently, but it's stories like this that should make us thankful for the honest and overworked men and women who make up the bulk of our police force.

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