Sunday, April 23, 2006

Don't Drink the Water....
If you are a police officer in Northampton County.

It's not just a classic piece of theater, it is something to consider, if you really think about it. The Dust has barely settled from the Jesse Sollman "accident" in Easton, and now we have new reports of another incident, this time in Bethlehem, and another coverup by authorities. In the Morning Call of Sunday, April 23rd, columnist Paul Carpenter published parts of his extensive interview with Northampton DA John Morganelli, and while both men made many valid points for their points of view, I had to agree with Paul Carpenter's view that police officers have less to worry about when breaking the law than we regular folks.
Here's a list of a few acts of police misconduct in Northampton County in the last few years, in no particular order:

A) Easton police subjected themselves to several civil rights lawsuits following a "disturbance" on the P'burg bridge following a Thanksgiving Day H.S. football game.
Excessive use of force, and police dogs, was approved.

B)The city of Bethlehem settled the John Hirko suit last year, involving just a slight over use of force during a raid by their S.W.A.T. team.

C)Jesse Sollman is killed by a fellow officer under what can best be described as dubious circumstances inside Easton police headquarters.

D)The above incident is still being investigated, and over in Bethlehem, in their headquarters, a captain playfully puts a loaded pistol to the back of the head of an officer under his command.

I could go on and on, with incidents in just about every municipality, but this speaks to a higher question:Is there no discipline for Police Officers in Northampton county? It sounds to me like they are reading from the Ernie Preate manual of how to determine individual rights. One set of rules for those with guns, another set for the rest of us.

John Morganelli is proud that he has prosecuted 21 police officers, of which only four ever went to jail, and 6 were acquitted.(From the Morning Call article) But I have a question, isn't 21 officers a lot in 12 years? and how many weren't prosecuted or disciplined? I find this track record of police misconduct particularly damning.


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