Criminal Justice

Potty-Mouthed Shopper Enticed, Then Frustrated, by Wal-Mart's Low, Low Prices, and Handcuffed

|

Via Michelle Shinghal comes this Houston Chronicle account of an apparently insane assistant fire marshall in Texas:

Kathryn "Kristi" Fridge made a last-minute stop at the Wal-Mart at FM 1764 and Interstate 45 with her mother and 2-year-old daughter.

Finding the batteries shelf bare, she expressed her displeasure and disbelief to her mother.

"I was like, 'Dang.' I looked at my mom and said, 'They're all —-ing gone," Fridge recalled.

Suddenly, Capt. Alfred Decker, the La Marque assistant fire marshal, appeared from around the corner, dressed in a fire department uniform.

"He said, 'You need to watch your mouth,' " Fridge said.

Perplexed by who the man was—his badge said "fire department"—Fridge offered a scant apology.

"I was like, 'Oh, OK. Sorry?' " she said.

Fridge walked away, but said the man ordered her to come back. She then protested, telling him she was having a private conversation with her mother that was none of his business. When the man ordered her to come to him and she refused, she said he pulled out his handcuffs.

Turned out the guy was an assistant fire marshall with very sensitive ears. As he was hauling Fridge away, this priceless exchange occurred:

[Capt. Alfred] Decker ordered Fridge to come out to his car because that's where his citation book was stored, [Fire Chief] Zacherl said. Fridge eventually complied, but admits she used the offending word again when she turned to a crowd of onlookers while being led outside and yelled, "Can you believe this? He's —-ing arresting me for saying —-!"

I don't know about you, gentle readers, but I really can't fucking believe it. Only in America!

More here.

Fridge was booked on a disorderly conduct charge and ticketed. She can either pay a fine or show up in court to argue some more. She shouldn't have to do either. And Wal-Mart really ought to keep its shelf stock up better, even when hurricanes are approaching (as was the case when this took place in early August).

Take a break and watch the excellent South Park episode (legally! for free! right on your work computer!), "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes."  

Advertisement

NEXT: Norm Stamper: Former Seattle top cop on the need for drug legalization

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How does this guy walk down the street without arresting everybody in sight?

  2. What the fucking fuck? Where does a fucking fire marshall get off with handcuffs and the a-thor-i-tie to write a fucking citation for saying “fuck”.

    Note to self: Stay out of fucking Texas, it’s run by fucking fucks.

  3. Any Trailer Park Boys fans here? I’m reminded of Ricky’s courtroom speech.

  4. Warren,

    I’m so fucking arresting you. I order you to report to your local jail to await processing and disposition. Fucking now, bitch!

  5. I think all the thank you calls were the same people who write the IRS asking how to pay more taxes.

  6. What the f—? This is f—ing pathetic.

  7. Dude, as soon as someone who is not a cop tells you you are under arrest for something bullshit, you say “go fuck yourself” and then when they lay a hand on you, you either:

    a. Sock ’em in the jaw, or
    b. Kick ’em in the crotch

    depending on the relative strength difference.

  8. I used to be a firefighter. One neat thing about being a firefighter (unlike, say, being a cop) is that when you’re on the job, people tend to be happy to see you.

    This Decker prick is trying to ruin that.

    I hope he gets fired forthwith, and has the remnants of his lunch eaten by the ACLU in a First Amendment case.

  9. Just what I needed to get me going this morning; another tale of petty tyranny.

    I suppose I would just be being obtuse if I asked why the fuck an assistant fire marshal is wandering the streets with handcuffs in his possession.

  10. I suppose I would just be being obtuse if I asked why the fuck an assistant fire marshal is wandering the streets with handcuffs in his possession.

    How else is he supposed to *arrest* the spread of a fire?!

  11. How else is he supposed to *arrest* the spread of a fire?!

    This thread is now “arrested”!

    Nicely done Elemenope

  12. I would laugh in the guy’s face if he told me to watch my mouth. I envision him with a big gut and 70’s mustache.

    Most of these people need a beating. Sounds like a bully.

  13. “Can you believe this? He’s fucking arresting me for saying fuck!”

    Quote of the year!

  14. This is just the death of civil society. In a just society, the mob would have beaten this asshole sensless and left him bleeding on the pavement and no one would have seen a fucking thing.

  15. Nicely done Elemenope

    I’m on fire.

  16. I’m a part-time firefighter, and the notion that a fire marshal has the power to arrest is new to me. So far as I know, firefighters have only a few police-like powers. To wit:
    Some fire marshals/Chiefs can issue citations for fire code violations.
    Firefighters can secure a fire scene during the fire and afterwards, during investigation.
    Fire investigators have limited police-like powers.
    EMTs and Medics can transport someone without consent if that person is in a severely altered mental state or has indicated that they are a threat to themselves or others. This is always done with the aid of the police.

    That’s it. Citing people for saying fuck in public (when did that become a crime, btw?) is not among those powers.

    PS-On the involuntary transport thing: the EMT/Medic fucking well better be right. The price for getting that wrong is a kidnapping charge and the probable loss of his or her license.

  17. Why is it necessary for fire marshals to have general law enforcement powers, as opposed to, say, limited LEO authority to write citations for fire safety related offenses?

  18. “[Capt. Alfred] Decker ordered Fridge to come out to his car because that’s where his citation book was stored…”

    As a woman, I’d be afraid this was a serial killer, disguised as an authority figure, who was going to take me to his car and kidnap me…
    (Maybe I need to stop reading so many true-crime novels)

  19. Heil to fucking fire chief. This is the land of the fucking free?

    Fucking unbelieveable

  20. LOL, I would have told him to Fuck off then takin his cuffs from him and beat him! Dickhead does not have arrest powers. Punk. What a joke. Welcome to the New Regime! Heil Bush!

    JT
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  21. Fridge was booked on a disorderly conduct charge and ticketed.

    This is what I don’t fucking get. Booked and ticketed by who?

  22. I love this thread-customized spam. I think it could pass the Turing Test.

  23. On MSNBC they said the girl was cussing out the checkout clerk.
    Still not sure that’s arrestable, unless they asked her to leave and she kept yelling

  24. From the article:

    “When I got outside, I saw he was a fire marshal – I saw his car. I said, ‘You’re not even a cop!’ He said, ‘I can do this,’ ” Fridge said.

    Decker asked for her name, and Fridge said she began to spell it out verbally and in sign language, which angered him. As their confrontation continued, he handcuffed her.

    Zacherl said the assistant fire marshal did so for his own safety because Fridge was being belligerent and because he had to turn his back to get his ticket book and check on the radio if she had any arrest warrants.

  25. Wal-Mart really ought to keep its shelf stock up better, even when hurricanes are approaching (as was the case when this took place in early August).

    The most preposterous thing about this story is the implication that WalMart had *no* batteries (of the type this woman wanted) in the store. It is quite likely that this woman was too fat and lazy to walk ten feet to the next rack, but that is a different matter entirely.

    If the store was completely out of batteries, I’m betting the management “team” are all currently out of work, regardless of any civil disturbances.

  26. They never expect the headbutt! I’m serious. Right to the bridge of the nose. Some yokum without arrest powers gets handcuffs on me (because, I dunno, maybe I was asleep or something), they deserve to have at least a broken nose for their trouble.

    But that sign language thing is awesome.

  27. P Brooks:

    Walmart apparently was out of batteries due to pre-hurricane panic buying, which makes sense.

  28. I hope he gets fired forthwith

    Ahahahaha.

    Good luck.

  29. Booked and ticketed by who?

    The Chief Librarian?

  30. I have a sneaking suspicion that this cocksucker was so far outside his pay grade arresing someone for cursing that the usual sovereign immunity would not apply.

  31. Fridge said she began to spell it out verbally and in sign language, which angered him.

    Am I the only who thinks “in sign language” is a euphemism for “flipping him off”?

  32. On behalf of fire professionals everywhere, I apologize for this f…ers lack of discretion and common sense.

    Now, FTA:

    State law says the use of abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, which causes an “immediate breach of the peace,” meets the definition of disorderly conduct.

    Decker is certified by the state of Texas as firefighter, peace officer, fire investigator and fire inspector.

    Apparently, he had authority to make the arrest however I’ll bet Wal-Mart doesn’t meet the legal definition of “public place” so it is likely a false arrest.

    Not sure there is other legal precedent to stop recurrence by morally uptight LEOs in true public space however.

  33. Decker asked for her name, and Fridge said she began to spell it out verbally

    Verbally is the only possible way to spell it out. Someone meant “orally.”

    And am I the only one for whom the “More here” link doesn’t work?

  34. Found this, anyway.

  35. And some more facts here.

    I spend entirely too much time on this stuff.

  36. I’d say that Capt. Alfred Decker needs to be beat up and ostraciized, but I assume that those were his actual elementary school experiences. What a childish fucking dickhead asshole cunt with little shit delusions of importance! I’d be happy to say it to his goat cock sucking face in front of goddam city fucking hall while being filmed by a motherfucking local news crew.

    What a dweebish twat!

  37. No one expects…the Fire Marshal!!!

  38. J sub D —

    Wasn’t there a day, not so long ago, where you had forsworn cursing on the Internet?

    Not a judgement, just asking.

  39. J sub:

    You kiss your mother with that mouth?:)

  40. Another reason not to shop at Wal-Mart.

  41. J sub D —

    Wasn’t there a day, not so long ago, where you had forsworn cursing on the Internet?

    Not a judgement, just asking.

    Yes, New year’s resolution in fact. It lasted ~ two weeks. Than some dumbshit fuckhead cocksucker pissed me off. I’ve been a baaad baaad boy.

  42. I am surprised that Walmart has not weighed in.

  43. I’m not a cop and I’ve moved away from the Houston area, so I hope someone can fill me in on this. Do peace officers or firefighters have any hurricane-prep duties that would take precedence over arresting someone for swearing, or is it business as usual unless all hell actually breaks loose?

  44. I wouldn’t suggest coldcocking a guy who might legitimately be a peace officer. You’re better off calling the police to come out and confirm he has the power to do this.

  45. “State law says the use of abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language in a public place, which causes an “immediate breach of the peace,” meets the definition of disorderly conduct.”

    Time to move to Oregon:

    Oregon high court protects racist, homophobic speech

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008115117_namecalling15.html

  46. I wouldn’t suggest coldcocking a guy who might legitimately be a peace officer.

    If he doesn’t know your name, I’m not seeing the down-side.

  47. I wonder how they define breach of peace? I don’t think one persons saying a foul word offending one other person would meet that definition.

  48. one persons, that’s nice. I meant one person

  49. In Texas, this is probably par for the course. There are lots of ?ber-religious folk there, that consider their morals public law.

    However, if movies with an R rating for language play anywhere in Texas, this case doesn’t have a leg to stand on. You can’t pick and chose what’s public and what’s not.

    I’m guessing even the state courts aren’t intolerant enough think this is OK. But going through the system costs a lot of money.

  50. This fool is lucky he didn’t try that crap on me.

  51. There are lots of ?ber-religious folk there, that consider their morals public law.

    Actually, Texas is quite a bit more complicated than that. There are lots of religious folk here, and the vast majority of them are very, very wary of government involvement.

  52. I used to live in Houston…I have to admit that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use the words “Texas” and “complicated” in the same sentence.

  53. I admit my knowledge of Texas is limited to the Dallas area, because my brother lives there. But the residents I encountered there on visits were shockingly theocratic.

    The first couple times in the state I thought it was a fluke, but after encountering several hundred people, a pattern began to emerge.

  54. Here is the Captain’s fucking email: a.decke@la-marque.tx.us. Fucking write to him and urge him to fuck off, or fuck his mother or get a fucking life.

    Fuck him. Fuck that fucking fuck.

  55. I was threatened with arrest by TSA security personnel at the Atlanta airport during a massive canceling of flights due to a NY hailstorm for using the expression “goddam” too frequently.

    The woman said “blasphemy is disturbance of the peace”

  56. John | August 15, 2008, 11:32am | #

    This is just the death of civil society. In a just society, the mob would have beaten this asshole sensless and left him bleeding on the pavement and no one would have seen a fucking thing.

    I love how I can agree with John so much in one thread, and then have to disagree so vehemently with him in most others.

    But indeed, petty dictators wouldnt certainly last long in a more citizen centric society. badges are bullshit.

  57. This is good = from the comments at the article site


    (0)
    noreasontolie wrote:
    YES! I am sick of hearing foul-mouthed people in pubic where children hear F-bombs and other bad words. I am also sick of seeing dumba$$es with their underwear showing, When are they going to start writing citations for that idiocy?
    8/14/2008 6:58:58 AM”

    I am sick of foulmouths in public.

    those dumbasses

  58. Was the girl hot?

    Sounds like the fire marshal wanted to use his hose on her.

    There’s probably some deep perversion on the part of the fire marshal at play here.

    He’s probably a sex offender who gets off on cuffing women before they are made to clean his pumper.

    The police should investigate this wacko!

  59. I guess the “litter slogan” applies to more then just the state pigs…. “dont mess with texas” has always meant more then what they say , they claim a litter slogan, I say more….

  60. This is truly an intersection of ‘Dumb & Even Dumber’, the woman was a tard for getting upset because they sold out of batteries with a Hurricane on the way, DUH, stupid for cussing around her kid, and any other kids, DUH. The Fire Marshal overstepped his boundaries and only incited more from the woman by confronting her. I wouldnt have gone to his car, I would have called the police on my own for him harrassing me. I used to have officers arrest people for cussing them out, it got tossed EVERY TIME, why, ‘Freedom of Speech’, disorderly conduct is a catch-all toilet flush of a violation, it rarely sticks unless you were drunk. Bad Fire Marshal!!!

  61. What does Walmart have to do with this story. It could happen in any store? Thank Walmart for low prices. It never guaranteed unlimited stock. Get a life.

  62. I live in Houston and if this ever happens to me, I’ll sucker punch the fucker. He won’t remember what hit him.

  63. Assistant Fire Marshal/Captain, La Marque Fire Marshals Office
    1111 Bayou Road
    La Marque, Texas 77568
    TEL 409-938-9267

    Call him up tell him to get some fucking batteries at the walmart

  64. Personally, instead of complain of whether this woman should be harged with violating a moral code of conduct, I think we should be examining our own personal lack of moral conduct as a society.

    Just because I can use foul language doesn’t mean it is appropriate. Furthermore, she wasn’t having a private conversation with her mother because it was taking place in the confines if a public forum. The moment she decided to have a conversation in the public domain, it ceased to be private. While at it, why on earth would she feel it would be OK to use such vulgar language in public, let alone to her very own mother?! My mother, at any age would have chagrined me for that!

    Finally; It wasn’t a firefighter, it was the Assistant Fire Marshall who obviously has the authority by law not only to enforce and investigate the fire code but ALL laws, that’s why he has the title “Marshall” and not “Fire Fighter”. Assumable it is also why he carries a badge, a citation book and a set of handcuffs so he can make arrests! He may even carry a sidearm!

    Consider this; in Michigan she could have been booked on a misdemeanor offense and taken to jail for using foul language in public! Obviously in that jurisdiction there are similar laws. Good For Fire Marshall for standing his grounds and not letting her talk trash in his neighborhood Wal Mart!

  65. I bet it makes the FireMan CUM when the FireMan’s wife says “Fuck Me Harder, FireMan”.

  66. Heh, he shouldn’t have arrested her and she shouldn’t have used the vulgar language in a store. They’re both idiots.

    http://reviewstash.com

  67. “Verbally is the only possible way to spell it out.”

    Uh…. writing? On paper? (Old-fashioned way to spell, I know)

    “What does Walmart have to do with this story.”

    That’s where all the cold-blooded reptilian type-people like to hang out and judge people who won’t exist JUST like them.

  68. Ricardo Cobos,

    First of all, fuck you, you shitsucking po-faced prick.

    Next, let’s examine your comments. I will begin by temporarily assuming for the sake of argument that profane language in public is shameful and inappropriate. From this starting point you draw the conclusion that fire marshals who arrest foulmouthed citizens are to be applauded. But the conclusion does not follow unless you are a lowdown piece of shit who sucks the thick dick of fascism. In particular, it does not follow without the underlying assumption that any shameful or inappropriate behavior ipso facto falls within the legitimate scope of law enforcement. And this underlying assumption is plainly false: for example, if I act like a know-it-all or mooch off of my friends or emotionally manipulate my girlfriend, my conduct is quite shameful and inappropriate, but only a stupid rotten cocksucking bastard would say I am to be punished by law enforcement. Not every moral lapse or shortcoming in virtue is fair game for the apparatus of the state, you bootlicking shithead.

    You show some interest in the legal background of the case, citing anti-profanity laws in Michigan. Well, note the following, you cretin. The Texas law relevant to the case concerns disorderly conduct, which in turn concerns an “immediate breach of the peace”. And if you think for a second that Ms. Fridge’s comments even come close to meeting that standard, then perhaps you should build a time machine and join the Justice Department of Woodrow Wilson. The rest of us will be here in present time, where Cohen v. California extends serious constitutional protection to profane speech and strained ‘immediate breach of the peace’ rationales for speech restrictions haven’t been on the table since Chaplinsky.

    But now let us drop our temporary assumption and ask whether Ms. Fridge did anything morally wrong. In a privately owned place of business open to the public, she used profane language in a private conversation with her mother and was overheard by a stranger. You, like the mewling tampon-up-your-ass pussy that you are, are scandalized by this behavior. But this isn’t Victorian England, faggot. Profane language is a central part of colloquial American English and private conversations that get a little salty are about as morally offensive as a mixed-race couple. If your monocle drops out every time you hear the word ‘fuck’, then that’s your problem. Making a moral issue out of bad words in everyday conversations is priggishness defined, and priggishness is not one of the classical virtues.

    But if you want to write letters to Reader’s Digest complaining about young black men using “the N-word” with their friends, go right ahead. After all, it’s not against the law to be a dried-up old fuck whose mind has been poisoned by bigoted sanctimony. It’s just shameful is all.

  69. Decker, Alfred
    Title: Assistant Fire Marshal/Captain, La Marque Fire Marshals Office
    Address: 1111 Bayou Road La Marque, Texas 77568
    Office Phone: 409-938-9267 Fax: 409-935-1113
    Email: a.decke@la-marque.tx.us

  70. “””Just because I can use foul language doesn’t mean it is appropriate.”””

    Like many people, you are confusing inappropriate with illegal. Sure that language isn’t appropriate but that doesn’t make it illegal.

  71. Guys,
    As Ricardo is my former husband, I can attest that he is for real when he spews the stuff he did yesterday. But, believe me, he wasn’t so uptight back in the day. Honestly, I’m really not sure whether or not his current position is an improvement over his older ones. Glean from that what you will about the content of his character.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.