If you read my newsletters or follow my site, you know that I'm a big supporter of law enforcement officers, their service and sacrifice. But I'm also not afraid to call out the VERY few rogue officers out there when they cross the line. That seems to be what happened in Atlanta, and now one so-called "street performer" is $20,000 richer with tax-payer dollars.
It all started when "Baton Bob" Jamerson grabbed a wedding dress and baton and began to parade around in Midtown Atlanta to celebrate when the Supreme Court ended the federal ban on same-sex marriage.
This type of parade isn't out of the ordinary for Jamerson, it's the reason he's somewhat of a celebrity among Atlanta locals. But what is out of the ordinary is that this time he was asked to leave by numerous security guards. Jamerson apparently ignored the guards and continue on with his performance.
The situation quickly escalated and resulted in Jamerson being cuffed and arrested without being advised of his Miranda rights. He was charged with assault and obstruction of justice.
But while Jamerson was in police custody, bystanders and his fans started calling the police station asking why he had been arrested.
Jamerson's lawsuit alleges that in order to be released on a "signature bond," he was required to post a message to his fans on Facebook that was positive about the police after the incident.
... the "say something positive about us on Facebook" idea had blossomed after bystanders and the media started asking why Baton Bob had been arrested and after a photo of the arresting officer, Davis, had been published.
Therefore, the following was posted on his Facebook page, allegedly written by Lt. Jeffrey Cantin:
First of all, the atl police officer that responded to the incident thru security has been very respectful and gracious to me even in handcuffs. So, the situation escalated from a complaint from a security officer in the area and for some reason she rolled up on me like she didn't know who I was and like I had not been there before. For them to call police to come to intervene was not necessary. So, out of it, because of my fury, the Atlanta police officer did not understand the elements of the situation, so he was trying to do his job, respectfully and arrested my ass!!!!!!!!! I'll be out tomorrow so look out for my show at 14th and Peachtree. So now I'm waiting to be transported so I can sign my own bond and get the hell out of here. I want to verify, that the Atlanta police was respectful to me considering the circumstances. See you when I see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jamerson was freed the day after the allegedly doctored post went up, and charges were subsequently dropped. But what followed was a six-month investigation and eventually a lawsuit.
According to Naked Security, in the following days, Lt. Cantin received a five-day suspension for "violating responsibilities of a supervisor." He said he was "just trying to do what was best for the department." Jamerson's arresting officer was also suspended for one day for not following proper arrest procedures: sspecifically, not advising Jamerson of his constitutional Miranda rights.
The charges were dropped against Baton Bob Jamerson in December 2014. And, just last week, he settled the case for $20,000.
It looks like the negative media attention that the police were trying to avoid in the first place has come back to be much worse than if they had simply followed proper procedures.