Children

Brickbat: The House at the End of the Street

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Tammy Cooper has sued the La Porte, Texas, police department and one of her neighbors after she was arrested for abandoning a child after letting her children, ages 6 and 9, ride their scooters in the cul-de-sac in front of their home. Cooper says she was sitting in her yard just a few feet a way but the neighbor reported the children were unsupervised. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges but not before Cooper spent a night in jail and spent $7,000 in legal fees.

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  1. See, this is how Brickbats should be done: a short, Balko-esque kick to the junk, rather than a bored, half-hearted tap on the shoulder like the last one was. And also by stealing links from commenters on the previous AM links articles, apparently.

    1. Stealing links? The story is almost 3 weeks old.

      1. Ok, stealing is probably too strong a term, but both John and I linked to this story in the AM links two days ago.

  2. You can beat the rap but you cant beat the ride. I hope she gets a million bucks out of them.

  3. Cooper should recover considerably more than seven grand if she sues the busybody neighbor for slander.

    -jcr

    1. “If she sues”?
      Tammy Cooper has sued the La Porte, Texas, police department and one of her neighbors

    2. I like how it says she feels awkward around her neighbor now, and the neighbor has no comment.

      I hope everyone on the block is watching him like a hawk, with 9 and 1 pre-dialed in case he has a backyard fire pit or fails to sort his recyclables properly.

      1. it is a her, fwiw

  4. The La Porte Police department issued a statement saying;

    “…we are confident in the known actions of the responding officers. In addition, officers did contact the Harris County District Attorney’s Office while on the scene that evening, upon which their Office accepted charges of Abandoning a Child on Ms. Cooper.”

    How many instances of weasel speak can you pick out?

    1. It’s weasels all the way down.

  5. “…we are confident in the known actions of the responding officers. In addition, officers did contact the Harris County District Attorney’s Office while on the scene that evening, upon which their Office accepted charges of Abandoning a Child on Ms. Cooper.”

    the video says the report is available at click2houston.com

    i can’t find it

    1) assuming she is telling the truth about being in the cul de sac, there is no way the cop had PC assuming he asked her where she was while the kids were playing, she told him she was in the cul de sac, and he had no evidence to dispel that statement

    2) i strongly doubt that the prosecutor office accepted charges IF the officer told them she was watching the kids from her lawn. did they conveniently leave that out and/or did she tell them that?

    3) the prosecutors have under the law ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY. it may help mitigate what the ofc did if the prosecuted DID accept the case based on the fact pattern, but the prosecutor can’t be sued either way. the cops can. as can the neighbor

    4) if the neighbor didn’t see mom watvhing, but just saw the kids APPARENTLY unsupervised, she’ free and clear in a civil lawsuit imo

    1. Why would it matter if she was outside at the time or not? When I was a kid, I played outside by myself all the time, even as young as 6. It was not a scandle back then. I used to walk home from school alone in kindergarten. Why is it now a crime to let kids play outside unsupervised? a 9 year old is capable of playing alone. I stayed out late at 9 years old on the weekends.

      1. im making that argument based on the assumption(implied in the article) that this was a key determinant

        in my OPINION, i agree with you

        there is no way that allowing the 6 and 9 yr old to play in the cul de sac is child endangerment. we agree

        i used to play wiffle ball in the street (newport RI) all the frigging time until dark.

        and this occurred from 3rd through 8th grade which is roughly 8 yrs old to 13 yrs old

        NO problemo

        we are talkin a frigging cul de sac here. So, good point. even IF she was inside the house cooking dinner, there is IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM a chuld endangerment case and especially not a criminal one

        fwiw, i have responded to probably a couple hundred of these TYPES of cases. i’ve never had one where i had to arrest a parent. not one

        i had a few where i had to remove a kid from an unsafe home (no food, floor covered with cockroaches, feces and urine) and refer a case to the prosecutor’s office and CPS. but these were VERY extreme cases.

        1. When I was 5-6 not only did I play in a cul-de-sac unsupervised, but we used to go down to the creek, climb trees in the forest and run around the abandoned farm (Oregon isolated suburb ca. 1970). I don’t think I led a particularly wild child youth, it was just the normal thing in those days (I did end up getting some stitches).

          But what’s strange is that my son is almost 6 and I can’t imagine letting him run around that unsupervised, not that that’s really possible here in the big city. So while I’m not a typical soccer mom, I’ve certainly absorbed some of the culture of obscene caution.

          1. i think it’s inevitable to some extent. you are with your kid(s) and you say or do something in regards to some safety issue or whatever and the chilling recognition is OMG I HAVE BECOME MY PARENTS πŸ™‚

            my parents and grandparents let me do all kinds of stuff I am not confident i would be ok with when my kids get that age.

            in the summer, on martha’s vineyard, before i was old enough to drive, i used to hop on my bicycle in the afternoon and ride down to a local pond. no lifeguard. sometimes there were people there. sometimes not.

            and jump in and swim across and back.

            i , being a teenager and knowing i was invincible didn’t think twice about it, but in retrospect?

            im talking like 13, 14 yoa.

            pond was maybe 1/3 mile across

            1. While you were in there swimming, did you happen to see a car go off a bridge?

              1. And did it remind you of the premier of Smallville?

          2. It’s kind of a different target environment.

            Your 6 year old is pretty safe from predators if the streets of every town are full of 6 year old’s. If your kid is the only 6 year old in public in a 100 mile radius, he’s the only target, so he’s less safe.

            1. right. he was with a 9 yr old and statistically speaking, the chance of a 6 and 9 yr old being abducted from a public street by some child molester or whatever is so small as to be almost immeasurable.

              endangerment implies a danger. and i say danger of WHAT the cul de sac i assunme is not the autobahn and there is no mention of them ignoring traffic.

              statistically speaking, the average 6 and 9 yr old are in more danger inside the house (if uncle joey is around if you know what i mean) than playing in the cul de sac.

              stranger danger is just vastly overemphasized. in that kind of scenario, the stats don’t lie

              i would assume the primary concern was traffic. but again, its a cul de sac.

      2. To jump in on Dunphy’s side here, if the kids were unsupervised, it’s not child endangerment, but I also don’t see a civil legal case against the neighbor succeeding.

        If the neighbor says, “Well, I think it is child endangerment, so I called the police to let them figure it out,” where’s her civil liability? She’s entitled to assume the police will make the correct determination once they arrive on the scene.

        Basically you’d be inventing a tort requiring people to assume police will be derelict in their responsibilities if called. And while you and I may think you should assume that, there’s no way a civil court will endorse that view.

        1. correct. as long as the neighbor didn’t lie to police, no matter how frivolous her complaint, SHE is not the one making an arrest based on same, etc.

          if she told the cop something she knew was false or possibly SHOULD HAVE KNOWN (dont;really want to get into that complex area of civil law) and the cop relied on it, then yes under civil codes, she would have some liability.

          i don’t see her doing anything civilly actionable here. just being a vindictive nosy tattletale histrionic wanker

          the COP has the authoritah and thus the responsibilitah to vet her claims, to get both sides of the story.

          and from what i can tell from the article ASSUMING her claims aren’t false etc. the arrestee here has a good case.

          the arrest, at least under the laws in the three state i have worked is RIDICULOUS.

        2. You’re right. She shouldn’t suffer tort liability, just because of the cops’ failure to get it right. (In fact, to the extent that she truthfully described what was happening on the cul-de-sac, she almost certainly won’t be found liable.) On the other hand, she should expect lots of flaming bags of dogshit on her porch this Halloween.

    2. did they conveniently leave that out

      No fucking way. Cops always put the whole story into their report. They never lie by omission. That would be dishonest.

      1. see, sarcasmic. here’s the difference.

        i of course readily accept that some cops lie, or purposefully leave out extremely relevant info in case reports. that is absolutely wrong, and in many cases criminal (the former is in many jurisdictions either perjury (felony) or filing false report (misdemeanor)

        the difference is i don’t automatically assume they are doing it, nor when looking at a case like this do i look at in the light most favorable to the complainant WITHOUT qualifying as such e.g. assuming the fact pattern as presented… and far more frequently than not, when the full investigation is done, evidence examined, DNA, witnesses, etc. it turns out- yes the cop was telling the truth. like the florida parking lot case. regardless of the disagreement between us about validity o the shooting, when the DNA etc. was done – bingo the guys DNA found on the officers neck (officer claimed suspect grabbed him by neck when he got out of the car). the cop said he identified himself and adams acknowledged. and the phone calls looked at later revealed yup -the guy called his family member and said he was shot by a cop. iow, supports the cops story. and the cop said the guy appeared drunk or high. and yup, toxicology confirms. over and over. that’s what i see.

        i know i can say i have never written anything false in a police report. fwiw, we have a saying in our agency – “never make a bad case good”

        1. the concept is this. we make mistakes. that’s acceptable. in some cases, we may even seize stolen property or drugs doing a search that we realize was not justified in retrospect.

          what i would never do is ever try to write my report such that i leave out relevant details and certainly not EVER lie to cover something up that i did.

          ever.

          and we can write a report like where we did something like above and simply end the report with “this case does not meet filing standards. No charges referred. Case for information only”

          that is, assuming it’s not a pattern. fine. lying is imo an automatic – yer fired. fucking up is not going to get you fired, unless it’s a pattern. it also does not subvert the justice system, it does not turn you into a piece of shit liar. it just means you fucked up. and it will happen sometimes, no matter how good you are. we make mistakes. that’s understandable, given that we learn from them, try to minimize them, etc. but you NEVER cover up a mistake by committing a crime, and you certainly never place anybody in penal jeopardy to cover up your fuck up

          1. the cops i work with feel the same way. the one thing i do not see is dishonesty. laziness, check. corner cutting, check. but not dishonesty

            and the thing is – both prosecutors and defense attorneys when they do get reports. over time, they recognize that there are certain officers who they know are giving them ALL the facts, not just the ones that are convenient, and that they can 100% count on. i am one of those officers as are my partners. SO many cases of mine do not go to trial and get pled out. because the defense attorney KNOWS that he;s not going to trip me up, and there isn;t going to be any smoking gun. what i said happened – happened, and while there is always the possibility of new evidence being revealed at trial, that’s not nearly as common as teevee would make you think.

            the ones who aren’t. they are not lying, but they aren’t as fair as they should be imo. like if an arrestee gives me an alibi i can check out, i will do it. in many cases, it means they get unarrested. a lazy officer will just put it in the report, but will leave it for the detectives. i’m not going to book the guy if he offers a post miranda alibi that i can verify with reasonable effort in a reasonable time frame. that’s called being fair (and like i said, this stuff happens and in MANY cases, talking to the cops even post arrest is a very good thing).

            1. there is no legal requirement you check on an arrestees story before you book them. but a GOOD officer, if he can, will. there is nothing that says an officer should check into the complainants credibility (like by using intel sources on his laptop while he is interviewing) beyond basic questions, but it’s a good idea to do so. a good officer will take the extra effort to try to find the impartial witness. knock on one more door, etc.

              i had one the other day, a DV. guy was making a prima facie case for DV. but it just smelled wrong. happened two days earlier. my partner and i did some extra digging and were able to establish he was almost certainly full of shit. so, nobody got arrested, where with a lazy officer there still wouldn’t have been an arrest (not mandatory cause 2 days ago), but those facts we uncovered might never have if it waited until trial for that shit to come out. and even if they did, the suspect would have been dealing with being treated like a suspect – summons in mail, etc. and the stress of that for a few weeks. not acceptable.

              over time, you get a rep with everybody- judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and yes… career criminals.

              1. and they KNOW that you are a 100% straight shooter. and it is something to be proud of, and you also know that when and if some incident involves shit at a fan, you WILL get the benefit of the doubt. always. i’ve had defense attorneys tell their clients straight up – “look we can try this defense, but i know ofc. dunphy and if he says it happened this way, that’s what happened. ”

                that sounds crazy, but it’s true. defense attorneys are not supposed to suborn perjury and they are also supposed to give clients good advise, iow when a defense likely won’t work they need to let the client know of other options

                again, you may not believe this, but i’m throwing it out there. there is nothing more important than integrity in this job.

                1. i’m not talking about the shit like what we wanked over- the cop who was schtupping his gf on lunch break occasionally. big fucking deal. the cop haters want to see FIRINGS and all that bullshit.

                  im talking about being 100% honest and willing to give suspects proper consideration and not assuming guilt EVER. again, in some cases, it turns around and the suspect get unarrested and the “victim” gets arrested. really. happens not infrequently.

                  ultimately, the legacy you take with you is your integrity. our justice system was designed around the assumption that people are generally good, and generally truthful.

                  and i can say again, i;m not just talking about myself. ime, overwhelmingly cops act with honor and do a good job in difficult circs. acts of heroism and immense sacrifice happen every day and never make any newspaper or blog article.

                  contrary to what you (and i have heard you say this kind of thing) think about cops, overall i think we do a damn good job, and there are few professions more noble, dignified and essential.

                  done with my speech.

                  sorry for wasting the bandwith, but i had one more poker video to watch. i go to sleep now.

                  1. Cool story bro.

                    1. consider this. at least i respect you enough to make a response. posting has been much more fun here, since ive (last few weeks) ignored the small but pervasive cadre of derp derp trolls. i give you enough cred and dont put you in that camp

                      i DO think you are irrational vis a vis police stuff, and i understand the psychological trigger for same (your DUI etc.)

                      but such is life. there are a lot of people i learn a lot from and enjoy discoursing with here.

                      and i have ample opportunity to correct egregious but common assumptions, and that;s always fun.

                    2. You’ve only served to make my opinion of law enforcement even worse. Seriously.

                      If your goal is to get people to respect people in your profession, you have failed. Failed miserably.

                      You have only solidified my view of policemen as dishonest assholes with mean hearts who enjoy hurting people.

                      I hope you’re satisfied.

                      Now please go fuck yourself.

                    3. thank you for confirming my suspicions that you were part of the cadre. clearly, i touched a sensitive little nerve, pussyboy when i mentioned your irrationality over your (completely justified ) prosecution and it turned you into a frothing piplike tool

                      i love it! πŸ™‚

                      smooches, (adds sarc to simpering pussy ninny file)

                      πŸ™‚

                    4. You see Dunphy, it’s comments like those, where your true colors come out, that show yourself to be the piece of shit that you are.

                      You are dishonest, untrustworthy, and hold the average person in contempt.

                      In other words, a typical cop.

                    5. I wonder if he thinks anyone actually reads those walls of poorly typed text he posts. It’s kind of pathetic, really.

                    6. again, apart from the small cadre of trolls, i find that there are plenty of people here who converse like adults and we have good discourse and i can learn and exchange ideas.

                      if it seems pathetic, just remember, i’m getting paid right now to write these walls of texts. paid leave is a wonderful thing. heck, i’m getting paid to take drugs, post walls of text and eat cheezy poofs. life is good

                  2. Look, you wrote like 8 pages so I am not sure.

                    Are you saying that other people’s bad opinions of you are punishment enough for a bad cop?

                    God forbid anyone ever got FIRED eh?

                    I don’t think a cop should be fired for screwing his girlfriend during lunch break. But cops who lie, falsify reports, abuses citizens rights, or (as in this case, and many others) seems to be totally ignorant of what is actually the law, should damn well be fired.

                    And that is probably the biggest problem with cops – like all unionized jobs, it’s damn near impossible to get fired.

                    One bad apple, if not REMOVED, spoils the whole barrel.

                    1. But entropy, Dunphy has repeatedly said that it is extremely rare for cops to do those things you mention, and when they do they are held to a higher standard.

                      He has said this repeatedly on many occasions.

                      If your personal experience contradicts this then you’re an irrational bigot, and if you have read stories that contradict this you’ve been duped by bigoted news outlets.

                      That’s what Dunphy says, and Dunphy never lies.

                    2. Yeah, well, I live in Chicago so I known better.

                      I’ve seen too many whole departments from the sheriff on down get busted by the feds to go around thinking there’s only good apples to be found in barrels.

                      Accountability is key if we want to have good and honorable cops. Where you do not have accountability, you will eventually have feds arresting the sheriff (albeit in 15 years or so).

                    3. I known better

                      I see. Then you too are an irrational bigot. Welcome to the club.

                    4. Don’t let it get you down, Dunphy. In cold blood I’m not anti-cop at all, but…well…cop-bashing is sport.

                      I was with my father when somebody sat on his parked car’s hood; I don’t remember if that was the time his hood ornament disappeared. Anyway, he got in the face of the guy who’d sat on his hood, and the guy gave him a 2-handed shove at the shoulders to get away from him. Daddy called a policeman over and asked me to tell him what I’d seen. I couldn’t resist the opp’ty. I told the cop, “He did this”, and shoved him at the shoulders. The cop was a little guy, and staggered back a couple of steps. Later Daddy said I needed to be careful, that I didn’t know my own strength; he couldn’t believe me when I told him that I’d done it on purpose, using the excuse to take an “innocent” free shot at a cop!

                      But in the light of reason, it is just sport. We read the bad news here, about police as about everyone and everything else, but it’s good to remember it represents the unusual, or it wouldn’t be news.

  6. Hmm, it’s probably a good thing she decided to go with a law suit over my initial idea of molotov cocktails.

  7. First of all, I agree that the mom did not need to be outside with her kids in the cul de sac. I think what is even worse is that the neighbor’s first response was to call the cops. There is nothing to indicate that she went over to the house to talk to the neighbor, which would have straightened things out without getting police involved. If your first response to seeing your neighbor doing something you do not like is to call the cops, that makes you an asshole.

    1. ^ this

      neighbor complaints, or as our MDT refers to them on screen “NABOR”

      gotta love ’em

      we have had some, where we literall have responded to 3 or 4 dozen incidents between the same 2 neighbors over the course of a couple years. sometimes, they listen to my adivce, they document and gather evidence on their own (iphone video recording, keep track of dates and times, etc.) , seek out the proper civil court order and if necessary go to civil court.

      and other times, they just want to vent and/use the cops as some sort of personal PI and we tell them sorry this shit is civil and we are not going to do your bidding, no matter what your attorney said

      reformed republican, if you google this puppy up and read some of the more detailed reports, it appears there is a lot more to the animus between the two neighbors. there were even some horseshit allegations on the same day involving the same neighbor complainant saying she had hit one of the arrestees kids with her car in the cul de sac (but no report made, no cops called, etc.). hmmm?

      1. unless there is some smoking gun i am missing in this case and that’s not being reported, the arrest sounds RIDICULOUS and i hope the woman gets a big fat lawsuit.

        the cops called the prosecutors and got the arrest CLEARED?

        that just suggests to me that there is either some really relevant shit they told the prosecutor that they are not telling the media or they just plain lied to the prosecutors office, or this prosecutor is the dumbest lawyer (and that’s a high bar to meet) on the face of the earth.

        again, as somebody who goes to these kind of calls probably 2-3 times a WEEK minimum, THIS one sounds like complete horsehsit. horseshit arrest, especially

    2. If your first response to seeing your neighbor doing something you do not like is to call the cops, that makes you an asshole.

      Last night I got a letter from the landlord reminding us that “it is the shared responsibility of ALL tenants to take the trash and recycling out to the curb, and return it after it has been picked up. We are hopeful tenants can work out an agreement without further management involvement.”

      There are about 4 trash cans and 2 recycling bins which have to be moved about 10 feet once a week. If they aren’t moved out (or back) when I get home from work, I do it. This works out to be about half the time (there are 3 apartments, all with 3 bedrooms). In fact, I brought them in the day before getting the letter. This means that someone felt so annoyed at either doing 2 minutes of work at most once a week (assuming the third apartment isn’t doing anything) or that I’m doing too much of it and not giving them a chance to, that they felt it was worth making it into a thing. But they felt that they should talk to the landlord instead of us about it.

      1. these people are out there . as cops we disproportionately deal with complainers. by nature of our job. they call police. we come

        my agency rules in that we are not, like amny other agencies, required to write reports on bullshit civil stuff, and we are EXPECTED to refer people to the proper venue for redress and NOT sit there and feel their pain and shit like some peecee agencies (redmond PD i am talking to you) would do

        and those agencies, by doing so, create a perverse incentive. if you reward people for being fucktards, you get more fucktardiness.

        like with neighbors etc. where they live in a homeowners association. they have some chronic problem with a neighbor and for them the first response is CALL police

        did they TALK to their neighbors and try to resolve it?

        did they talk to the HOA , which generally has far more authoritah over minor bullshit civil stuff and se if they could help?

        nope

        Auric, i feel your pain. you’d be surprised how many of these people who call police (not a landlord but POLICE) over this kind of petty bullshit admit they didn;t simply talk to their neighbor. usually, they are ‘afraid’.

        i;m like “afraid of WHAT?”

        recall, i live in the pussified passive aggressive PAC NW. where the idea of confrontation (oh noes) is the most abhorrent idea on earth

        1. i grew up in a typical working/middle class new england suburb where people have NO problem speaking their fucking mind, and never in a MILLION years would they call the police over a garbage incident.basic salt of the earth, no bullshit new englander. gotta love em

          it used to amaze me how some people are just such complete simpering whiny pussies, but i’ve seen enough now where i am no longer amazed.

          1. Funny. I thought bacteria like you reproduced by fission.

          2. I live in Somerville, MA in an area mostly filled with under 30 professionals and some grad students.

            Seriously, if they were that upset about this, they could have just come to talk to us and I’d say “Fine, just leave the cans where they are and I’ll do it when I get home every time.” I really don’t care about moving the cans, but jumping straight to our landlord makes me want to be a dick about it.

            1. somerville. awesome. i went to the police academy in needham. totally know the area.

              had good times at the academy. we’d head into boston and go to the rathskeller. good stuff

              i totally agree with you. it’s totally suss to call the landlord without talking to you first. you knew these kids in grammar school. you know, they’d raise their hands to let the teacher know you were chewing gum.

    3. I’m not sure it would have straightened anything out.

      Concerned Neighbor: “Hi. I was just looking out my window, and I noticed your kids were riding their bikes in the cul-de-sac without any supervision, and I just wanted you to know that that makes me uncomfortable.”

      Mother:

      Concerned Neighbor: “You just don’t know what might happen. A pervert might drive by and snatch your kinds away like Jaycee Lee Dugard. The cops might be chasing someone like Rodney King down the freeway, and he might decide to swing into this neighborhood, and as he comes careening down this street, he might realize too late that there’s no way out, and as he pulls a bootlegger’s turn at 100 mph, his car could swing around and kill your children stone dead.”

      Mother: “You know, I really don’t think I can make my day-to-day decisions based on such far-fetched scenarios. You might as well say that I need to guard against the possibility that a meteorite might plunge to earth and kill my children.”

      Concerned Neighbor: “EXACTLY. And here you are, completely ignoring that risk. Well, I see I’m wasting my time here, if you can’t even be bothered to think about what might happen. I need to talk to the police.”

  8. Here’s the Texas definition of child abandonment:

    http://www.statutes.legis.stat…..tm#161.001

    Its quite long, but the relevant bits seem to be:

    (1) that the parent has:

    (A) voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another not the parent and expressed an intent not to return;

    (D) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundings which endanger the physical or emotional well-being of the child;

    Applying (D) to a child playing in a residential neighborhood is plainly ludicrous. (A) requires that the parent express an intent not to return.

    I see no grounds whatsoever for the police to even respond to the call, much less make an arrest. Especially since this statute provides for removal of the child, not arrest of the parent.

  9. Lets kick it on up a notch or two Wow.

    http://www.PrivacyPros.tk

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