Lawyer of the Day, Police, Tobacco / Smoking

Lawyer of the Day: What Are You Going To Do, Arrest Me for Smoking?

Smokers are not crazy. I know it seems like we’re crazy. I know what non-smokers think: “Why would you put something in your body that you know will give you cancer?” It’s not like the explanation is particularly complicated: 1) it’s a narcotic and people get addicted, and 2) some people aren’t terribly worried about dying.

Is that really so hard to understand? Not everybody wants to live “healthily.” Not everybody is desperate to live to 100. And some are prone to get addicted to drugs. That’s not crazy.

But don’t try telling that to the New York police. They arrested a man and threw him in a psychiatric ward for smoking on his window ledge. They claim they were worried that he was going to jump from the window ledge he was smoking on. The window was two stories off the ground.

Now the NYPD is getting sued, because this smoker is also a lawyer…

The New York Post (gavel bang: ABA Journal) has the story of lawyer Mark Moody’s tussle with a conformist society:

A lawyer enjoying a puff on the sill of his second-floor apartment window says he was wrestled to the floor by cops who hauled him off to the loony bin.

Mark Moody said he was taking his usual nicotine break on the window ledge of his Peck Slip home on a hot August day with a cigarette in one hand and a cellphone in the other, a scant 12 feet off the ground.

Note to society: make smoking illegal, or get off our case. Seriously, you can’t just hassle and shame people into acting they way you want them to.

Meanwhile, something like this cannot happen without police officers getting drunk off of their own power:

[Moody] was shocked when a police car rolled up and two cops jumped out.

“Are you about to commit suicide?” one cop asked.

“If I was going to commit suicide, this would be a pretty dumb place to do it,” the 40-year-old trial lawyer scoffed. “If I jumped from here, I’d just sprain my ankle.”

But the officers, who never said what prompted their concern, insisted Moody come downstairs.

Yeah, don’t you dare talk back to a police officer, because then this will happen to you:

Before he knew it, a beefy officer was inside his apartment, lifting him out of his own living-room window from behind, Moody said. The cop slammed him on the living-room floor while another kneeled on top of him and cuffed him, he claimed.

“I still don’t know how they broke in,” he said. “I never used to keep the chain on, but now I do.”

Moody was released from the psych ward almost as soon as he got there. And now he’s suing:

Moody, who The Post found still takes his cigarette breaks sitting in his open window, sued the city and the police officers for $400,000 in damages on Dec. 8 in Manhattan federal court.

“I wasn’t doing anything,” he said. “Maybe it should be a crime to smoke a cigarette, but at the moment it’s not.”

I’ve had three cigarettes while writing this piece. That’s not illegal, and it doesn’t make me crazy. So you can take your moral judgments and shove them right back down your delightfully cancer-free throats.

Cops take ‘suicidal’ window ledge smoker to psych ward [New York Post]
Lawyer Sues After Police Take Him to Psych Ward for Smoking on Window Ledge [ABA Journal]

(hidden for your protection)

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