Thursday, April 15, 2010

Something's Rotten With the Richmond, VA Police Department. Ask Congressman Bobby Scott

hat tip-Monie, who is right, this doesn't pass the smell test.

From The Hill:

In mix-up, lawmaker gets wake-up call from Richmond police
By Lauren Victoria Burke - 04/14/10 09:33 PM ET

Richmond police officers on Sunday attempted to serve an arrest warrant to a Virginia lawmaker, but they had the wrong guy.

The bizarre sequence of events started Saturday night after Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) delivered a speech at the Virginia 5th District Annual Dinner in Lynchburg, Va. Instead of completing the more than three-hour drive to his home in Newport News, Scott checked into a Holiday Inn Central hotel in Richmond around midnight.

Nine hours later, two members of the Richmond Police Department were knocking on his second-floor hotel room door, Scott told The Hill.

Scott, who described himself as "dead asleep" at the time, awakened, opened the door and spoke with the officers.

They asked him if his name was Robert Scott and he replied yes. The officers informed him they had an outstanding arrest warrant for a "Robert Scott" and requested two forms of photo identification. Scott said he gave the officers his driver's license and his congressional voting card.

Though his voting card states, "Robert C Scott, U.S. House of Representatives, Member of Congress" on the front side along with his photo as well as the seal of the U.S. House of Representatives on the backside, the police were more interested in his driver's license to ascertain his date of birth.

Scott, who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee crime, terrorism and homeland security subcommittee, was questioned about where he lived. The conversation ended shortly thereafter, according to Scott.

Scott, who will turn 63 on April 30, did not suggest that the police acted improperly, but is perplexed as to how the police knew that a Robert Scott was at the hotel at that particular time. He is also wondering if the officers had a specific description of the suspect they were looking for.

"I'm just curious and interested to see what description they had..." Scott said. "I'm curious as to how they got to the hotel room and what information they got to find out where I was. Most hotels are secretive about information.

"I'd be interested to know if there was probable cause regarding a description. Were the police looking for a 62-year-old black man who is 5'8?”

The nine-term lawmaker and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is also an attorney, is raising civil liberty concerns.

"At a hotel there is an expectation of privacy. They will connect you to a room if you call, but they will not tell you a room number," Scott said.

DeQuan Smith, who was the manager on duty at the Holiday Inn Central when the police arrived Sunday morning, said he informed the Richmond Police he would not disclose any information on a guest staying at the hotel.

Smith said he asked the police officers for more information, but instead was told he would be arrested if he did not tell the officers which room Scott was in.

Repeated calls to hotel General Manager Rasik Kotadia were not returned.

OK, Questions People:
1. How the hell did they know Scott was AT A HOTEL. They didn't go to his HOME...they sought him out at a HOTEL.
2. Yes, I believe Mr. Smith, when he says they THREATENED HIM WITH ARREST for breaking the privacy of a patron.

Something is rotten with the Richmond, VA Police Department.

And, NO, I don't even have to ASK what the police officers look like, because I've been Black in America longer than 3 days.

1 comment:

Brian said...

This is not unusual... they were likely going by the hotel manifest. It is routine for regional fugitive units/ and the U.S. Marshals to check with all hotels/motels in an area....just as a matter of course.

Unfortunately Scott's name is common...and there is someone in Virgina who shares his name who is probably engaged in all sorts of criminal activity.

The problem I see was when they actually spoke with Scott. Once he provided his Congressional ID...and he informed them that he was a U.S. Congressman, that probably should have been the end of the discussion IMO.

But this is common in situations where officers may not have enough good information or are relying on shady tips... and are trying to put pieces together during a fugitive search.

This is a problem that a lot of Black men have to deal with (disproportionately). It has happened to me....although not in the same way. The person sharing my name in another State is probably not as bad as Scott's name twin, but he has apparently done enough that I have to deal with it every time I want to change my drivers license here in Missouri. (I blogged about it here several years back). It's a pain in the ass.

I have a common name...but I now try to make sure that I include my middle name on all official paperwork.... to distinguish my name as much as possible. (hate the name my parents gave me.... always have.) My surname is one of the most common in well as my first and middle.

At least they didn't go with an ebonics name... I would have had to hurt someone. Definitely would have legally changed it. Just being honest.