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Laws apply to all, including police

Like a boomerang or a bad penny, trouble just keeps returning to the Boulder City Police Department.

The latest incident stems from a Joining Forces event held earlier this month to enforce traffic laws designed to enhance pedestrian safety.

Officers from the Boulder City Police Department joined with other law enforcement agencies to enforce crosswalk laws on June 8 in front of McDonald’s. There, in a marked crosswalk, a police decoy walked across Nevada Highway. Drivers who failed to stop for the pedestrian were given tickets.

One of those drivers, 28-year-old John Hunt, felt the event unfairly targeted people and decided to protest by mimicking the decoy’s actions. Video from a neighboring business shows him crossing back and forth across the street a few times. Then, he gets arrested.

According to the police report, Hunt was arrested for obstructing traffic as well as resisting arrest.

And this is where it gets troublesome.

The police report states “the vehicle in the (left lane) had to slam on its brakes and skid to a stop just before hitting the subject.”

Yet video provided to the Boulder City Review doesn’t seem to support this statement. Even worse is that dash camera footage from the arresting officer’s police car indicates that the officer, Sgt. John Glenn, knew before he brought Hunt to the police station that the Boulder City man was just trying to make a statement and protest the sting operation.

Although all charges were eventually dismissed, Hunt has filed a criminal complaint with the Boulder City Police Department accusing Glenn of perjury by falsifying his arrest report. The intent of Hunt’s politically motivated actions are clearly protected by the First Amendment, which gives him freedom of speech. Where it gets a bit murky is in the interpretation and if his actions posed a threat or put any of the drivers in danger.

In the end, though, the central issue is that it appears the arrest report was written to support the actions of the officer, and not that the words reflected the actions of the person being arrested. Perhaps there is something that happened outside the scope of the video camera that influenced Glenn’s decision and ultimately resulted in Hunt’s arrest.

Let’s hope that new police Chief Timothy Shea can put an end to the disturbing actions revolving around the department. During a recent sit-down in his office, Shea said he doesn’t put up with wrong and illegal behavior from his staff. No one is above the law, including police officers, he said.

Those who break those laws should be punished and/or disciplined, depending on the infraction.

He doesn’t believe in bullies with a badge and thinks the basic principles of the law are fairly straightforward.

He also said he believes in owning his mistakes. If he makes one, he apologizes, fixes the problem and moves on. We are, after all, human and do make mistakes from time to time. This incident appears to cross that line.

Shea has been chief for less than a month. While he’s still getting familiar with his staff, proper operating procedures and local regulations, it shouldn’t take long to look into the charges and see if the complaint merits further investigation or action.

Where and when will this flaunting and skirting of the law by the Boulder City Police Department end?

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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