Police Abuse

Cops Show Up in Force at Town Hall Meeting to Demand Resignation of NJ Councilman Skeptical of Police—Councilman Shows Up at Different Town Hall Meeting to Complain About Police Instead


hobbes wins
via David Fanale

About 125 to 150 protesters, largely police officers and their families and friends, showed up at the town hall meeting in Franklin, New Jersey tonight to demand the resignation of a Franklin councilman who has been an outspoken critic of police abuse. Not in attendance was the target of their ire, David Fanale, who instead attended the city council meeting in Roxbury to complain about police there, against whom he had filed an Internal Affairs (IA) complaint over what he says was an illegal 2013 police stop.

When he felt that complaint hadn't been treated fairly by the Roxbury Police Department, Fanale turned to his personal Facebook page to express his frustration, eventually posting an image of Calvin peeing on the thin blue line. Someone shared the photo among the law enforcement community, which proceeded to mobilize against him. The local media described the offending illustration (reproduced at right) as Calvin "urinating on what's become a symbol of police sacrifice." Yet for many people who have found themselves on the wrong side of it, the thin blue line represents police corruption and police complicity in corruption.

The local police union president, Nevin Mattessich, had no problem using dead police officers and their families to get the upper hand against Fanale, who as a councilman says he has not shown police the deference they expect form elected officials. "I've had widows who've lost their husbands who are officers in the line of duty. I've had family members who've lost their sons and daughters in the line of duty who've contacted me to express how upset they were," Mattesich told local TV station My 9, later claiming Fanale's oath involved promising to work with them.  "Mr. Fanale took an oath to be impartial, to be fair and to technically work with us and try to make Franklin better. What he's done here is he's gained a tremendous amount of unnecessary attention and he's actually taking away from the Borough of Franklin," he said.

Other cops chimed in too to explain why they thought Fanale was wrong. One retired New York City police officer involved in the effort to target Fanale told the Star-Ledger "everyone has the right to free speech, but there are limitations to it." It's doubtful he or many other officers would choose to apply that standard in limiting the things union bosses say.  Given the monopoly on the legal use of initiatory force police officers have, there's a far stronger case for limiting what union bosses can say about elected officials, since it's so easy for them to intimidate others, than what elected officials can say about police officers.

While Fanale is an outspoken critic of police abuse who says he's commited to holding police accountably as a council man, his votes so far have not been unusually anti-police. When the council voted on a new patrol car for the Franklin Police Department, Fanale says he voted for it. He did vote against funding a seatbelt ticketing initiative. It's hardly a record that threatens the gravy train police officers have commandeered for themselves. "Their belief is that no office holder, no elected official should oppose the police," says Fanale. He says the police union wants him and another councilman removed from office because the two were "not going to give them everything they want." In fact pro-police residents (largely retired cops) were pushing for Fanale's removal before the Calvin incident, as early as March of this year, because of comments Fanale made critical of police.

In an interview with Reason, Fanale said "a lot of stuff" was going on with the Franklin Police Department and described two incidents he's focused on—in one a Franklin cop made a dangerous U-Turn that led to a collision with a septuagenarian driver. Fanale says the city refused to pay the driver's $250 deductible from the accident. In another, a Franklin cop ran into a pet store to save some animals from a smoke-filled room. Fanale says the police union called it an "inferno" but that there was no evidence of a fire. Also unmentioned in the police union's narrative of the hero cop is that the cop now has a workers' compensation claim from the incident, which did not occur on duty or under orders.

Fanale says because of the attention focused on him by the law enforcement community he's seen death threats posted in online comments, and even his home address.

Fanale ran for city council last year. He says the mayor, multiple council members and even a state assemblywoman suggested he run. He said he had the backing of the Republican party during his run but was at the time already shifting toward a more libertarian outlook on politics, driven by an interest in Ron Paul's 2012 campaign and subsequent involvement with the Campaign for Liberty. He says he has no intention to resign. Some residents say they want to recall him but by law that process can't be started until Fanale's served a year in office. Fanale says he's learned that for cops, his freedom of speech ends "where their feelings begin," comparing police officers' reaction to being offended over the image he posted to what extremist jihadis do to people and media outlets that publish image of Mohammed, which some Muslims consider prohibited based on certain hadiths, or recorded sayings of Mohammed.

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  1. So on one side we have a thuggish police force trying to silence dissent through intimidation, and on the other we have a guy who uses that tasteless peeing Calvin icon. There really are no good guys anymore.

    1. It does seem that way. Freedom of expression and all that, but would it kill people to show some class now and then?

      1. would it kill people

        “It” wont. Cops will.

        1. Hey, that’s not fair. Cops don’t always kill. Sometimes they just burn babies with flashbang grenades.

          1. Only when they want an erection.

    2. So you have a problem with free speech? I thought you guys were libertarians.

  2. Always love when people talk about limitations to free speech..generally the limit is drawn at what offends them.

    1. “*I* am offended; and *I* am a reasonable person; therefore any reasonable person would find this offensive, QED!”

  3. They sure seem to be some thin skinned little bitches.

    1. Maybe Fanale should be concerned about the cops being concerned about him – if the cops are afraid of him, they’re legally allowed to kill him on sight for ‘officer safety’ reasons.

      1. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of that. I used to respect the police, but it’s difficult to respect many of these thugs.

  4. …”everyone has the right to free speech, but there are limitations to it.”…

    That’s what the cop said, right there.

    1. As he was trying to intimidate an elected official.

  5. “”Come to New Jersey = Because there aren’t *enough* Assholes where you already live!””

  6. New Jersey! = Where the Mafia Retire, and whose Children Run Your Town!

  7. Fuck every single one of those cops. I hope they all get what’s coming to them.

  8. I just moved to Franklin back in April. Let me give you a rundown of what the Franklin PD does:

    Revenue Generation – State Rt 23, the busiest highway in the county runs right through the center of town. Speeding tickets, seatbelt tickets, the occasional DUI.
    Drug Busts- usually in the course of their revenue generation activities they find junkies (which are ubiquitous up here, heroin is the drug of choice for the rednecks of Sussex Co.)
    Shoplifting arrests – We’ve got a WalMart in town. The second week I was here I witnessed a shoplifter get arrested by two cops in full tactical gear. I twas hysterical and scary at the same time.

    Fanale is a fucking hero.

    1. I also live a block away from the ‘police only’ range that serves most of the county. I’ve heard it in use twice in the 3 months I’ve been here. Remember, these are highly trained individuals who are the only ones responsible enough to be armed. Fuck this state, I can’t wait until I can get out of here.

    2. for the rednecks of Sussex Co.

      Rednecks? In New Jersey? Lol, I thought those were found only in the South!

      1. A few weeks ago someone let their goat loose in the WalMart. Yes, we’ve got rednecks in NJ.

      2. I’m also in NJ. Yes, we have a little of everything throughout the state. Rednecks, hippies, mafia, rich, poor, ultra-rich, ultra poor.

        One thing there’s no shortage of, though, is liberals and the poor folks that keep voting and waiting for liberals to take care of them and make things better. Newark, Trenton, Camden, Paterson, Passaic, and I’m sure many other cities and towns.

        1. Jersey HnR needs to gather in order to plan the revolution.

      3. Don’t kid yourself. Ever been to southern NY?

      4. Jeff Foxworthy has attributed his success to the fact that once you are 50 miles from a major urban center, there are large numbers of rednecks.

      5. NJ was somewhat part of the south. That is, some of their legislators opposed the amendments after the Civil War – some of it is below the mason-dixon line (not Sussex, of course!) and the southern area was heavily farmed and otherwise serviced by very poor black populations shipped in to do all the hard work.

        NJ has had many many Republican Governors and even the Dem Govs ( like Corzine) were Wall Streeters, so not much diff.

    3. Pennsylvania is less than an hour away! WTF are you doing in New Jersey?

      1. Adding 2 hours a day to a commute is a good way to go crazy. A former boss of mine used to do it until she had her second kid.

        Sussex, Warren, and parts of Morris counties have nice people and rural / suburban communities. I wish we could let NJ have Philly while we were annexed by PA.

    4. Holy crap I am glad my NJ town (Allamuchy) doesn’t have a cop shop. The town pays the State Police to show up when somebody actually dials 911. Otherwise they pretty much leave us alone and amuse themselves writing tickets to commuters on Rt. 80.

      I have my head on a swivel when driving through towns with local police like Franklin (Mt. Olive, Hackettstown, Sparta, and Roxbury) – the cops will pull you over for any kind of made-up bullshit. Then they will “give you a break” by writing a ticket with a fine but no points – seatbelt, indicator, etc… This way you’ll pay it without showing up in court. The towns have hired these parasites with badges for protection, then expect them to self-fund.

      1. Hey, drake and nipplemancer: We should have an HnR meet-up in NJ.

        Triangulating between all our locales, I’d suggest Bridgewater. (It’s the easiest place to get to in northern NJ with access from 80, 287, 206, etc)

        1. You’ve got my vote. I’m in Somerset… about 15 minutes from Bridgewater. Green Knoll is just north of the mall on 202/206. Outdoor seating. Good burgers and beer joint.

          Never heard of cops waiting to check DUI while exiting, so there’s that.

  9. I was gonna go to the meeting tonight, but I knew it would be full of cops and copsuckers and really didn’t feel like being beat up and jailed for speaking my mind. Blue Mafia.

  10. Ed – Here’s a link to a new SL story about tonight’s meeting featuring pictures of crying girls.
    Butthurt cops are butthurt, copsuckers and children most affected.

    1. Good god, did you read the caption on that photo?

      “Mia Martin, 11, of Franklin, tries to hold back her emotions as she quietly holds a sign in the back of the room during a Franklin Borough Council meeting. Martin who was offended by the hate posted by Councilman David Fanale on his Facebook page, was on-hand to call for his resignation.”

      Hate? I guess we know where the photo editor stands on the matter. I wonder if her daddy is one of our heroes in blue who thankfully made it home safe last night? The councilman better watch his driving through town. If he gets pulled over the police officer is sure to be on edge and ready to defend himself from such a hater.

  11. Calvin and Hobbs

    It is interesting that it is now the Hobbsian left (they claim to be liberals which Hobbs was but are really just left wing statists who use Hobbs’s justification for expanding the state into infinity) who do not believe in free will and it is Calvinistic Christians who now do believe in free will.

    1. Calvinists still do not believe in free will. What is this I don’t even

      1. So how much do they believe will should cost? Are they planning a tax?

    2. Calvinists believe in predetermination.

    3. I followed you Corning. It is an interesting irony.

  12. New Jersey is a dead state. It won’t be long and the state won’t be able to pay any pensions. peace

  13. Nothing more than a bunch of self aggrandizing pricks.

  14. Hilarious article that explains it all:

    Court OKs Barring High IQs for Cops

    And no, it’s really not The Onion.

  15. recorded sayings of Mohammed

    There is no historical evidence that Mo’s voice was ever recorded.

    1. Then why did I pay all that money for the 2013 Remastered versions of the Hadiths?

      1. Tupac has nothing on old mo.

  16. You have to admit that is a ballsy move on their part.


  17. “symbol of police sacrifice”? I thought it meant, “Don’t pull me over, because professional courtesy, Bitches!”

    1. Yep, when I think Police sacrifice and bravery, I think of them telling pre-teen girls to cry and hold signs or wear their Dad’s police hat.

      On a side note, is it just me or does that picture of the 12 year old with the police cap make it look like she’s topless?

      1. That is a little beyond. I mean, it’s only cops in VA that are allowed to generate child porn.

  18. “Given the monopoly on the legal use of initiatory force police officers have, there’s a far stronger case for limiting what union bosses can say about elected officials, since it’s so easy for them to intimidate others, than what elected officials can say about police officers.”

    Did you actually write that? You’re for limiting what people can say about elected officials? Isn’t that kind of the main point of the first amendment?

    1. The quoted passage was in response to a retired cop quoted just before who said “everyone has the right to free speech, but there are limitations to it.”

      It wasn’t a call to limit what people can say about elected officials, it was merely turning the cops words back on him.

  19. Cops should be investigated by randomly selected Grand Juries and special prosecutors. Mandatory sentences at the maximum length for any crime committed, and abusing a citizen should double the sentence.

  20. Brownshirts in blue. To Hell with them all.

  21. Why don’t they just shoot him? I don’t think a cop has ever been convicted of murder in the line of duty. Just say he was reaching for what looked like a gun!

  22. I increasingly understand Watterson’s reluctance to commercialize Calvin given the growing shittiness of the ersatz Calivin merchandise availabe.

  23. Go easy now. When they are not invading homes with automatic weapons, throwing flash grenades into nurseries, and manhandling people who videotape them, cops are pretty sensitive guys.

    They are only helping us inferior civilians make better life choices, which do not involve substances politicians disagree with.

  24. I was involved in a story just like this – but I was the bad guy….that is, the citizen who made a cartoon and had the pols and the cops come down on me…

    I got out alive – in fact, made some moves that made them look bad. I’d call it a draw after all was said and done. But, yeah, NJ especially is a 100% police state…but I can’t blame the police, as they are pawns of the pols who usually instigate this stuff.

    I could tell you stories. You cannot imagine the double and triple dipping as well as the rackets where they make each person in turn Chief for a year or two so they can collect the 100+ yearly pension.


    I tell my wife that I feel sorry for Christie. Not that he’s not one of them…..he certainly is! But, NJ is impossible to fix. Completely impossible.

    The reason is largely because it doesn’t have a powerful central government. What they’ve done is something called “home rule”, so now they have 850 warlords in their little locales in addition to the county and state government. It’s the Soprano State.

    I had a cop from northern NJ once buy an expensive item from me – and I loaded it for him at our warehouse. He was plainclothes and packing heat…patting the gun everyone once in a while.

    After I loaded his expensive item, he asked me if I would like to load a couple more of them for him……didn’t know I was the owner and figured he’d give a couple bucks to the warehouse dude.

    Did I mention I have a distrust of authority?

  25. Every stormtrooper that showed up at the council meeting should be fired.

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