Traffic Accidents

police officer Above the Law.jpgYet another sign that reality television has gone too, too far:

City leaders have apologized after a program on Tempe’s cable channel showed a white police officer telling two black men they could get out of a littering ticket by performing a rap….

[After pulling the car over,] the officer then tells the men that they can avoid getting a littering ticket “if the two of you just do a little rap about — what do you want to do a rap about? Littering? About the dangers of littering.”

The two men agree, and each performs a short rap, laughing afterward. One says, “The dangers of littering, you will get a ticket. If you ain’t wit’ it, you better be experienced.”

The second man raps, “Yo, I just got pulled over ’cause I threw my trash out the window when they rolled over. They got behind me and pulled me over.”

They got out of the ticket. But query whether they should have been fined for their mediocre rapping.
The cop also pulled over an Asian woman for making an illegal turn. He told her she could get out of a ticket by being a bad driver.
Arizona cop had black men rap away ticket [Associated Press via Drudge Report]

* I’d rather go naked than eat foie gras. (Wait, is that how it goes? Like Pamela, I’ll find any excuse to show off my glorious rack.) [New York Sun]
* Would it have been a crime if the motive had been a little head-start on Thanksgiving preparations? Not everyone can be Rachel Ray. (Thank the F*&king Lord.) [Rutland Herald]
* You can still smoke in your detached, single-family residence, where the only victims will be you and anyone else likely to live in a detached, single-family residence. Like your kids. [San Mateo Daily Journal]
* If I had received this book as a stocking stuffer when I was 12, I actually would be sad I didn’t get socks instead. Let’s wait for the movie, and then only if it is narrated by Morgan Freeman. He’s just so kind and knowing. If you don’t just love him, well then, there is something seriously wrong with you. [Lowering the Bar]
* But you’ll still be able to gamble and pay someone for sex. [KTNV]
* May we recommend a theatrical adaptation of this instead? Cute, but not offensive. (We think.) [Chicago Tribune]

Over the weekend, after spending several days in critical condition, New Haven police officer Dan Picagli passed away. Officer Picagli was the officer who was struck last Tuesday in a traffic accident by Judge John M. Walker, Jr.
Judge Walker sits on the Second Circuit and maintains his chambers in New Haven (where he also teaches at Yale Law School). He was driving home in his sport utility vehicle at the time of the accident.
Officer Picagli, 38, was a 17-year-veteran of the police force and a father of four. He was praised for his service by several public officials, including New Haven’s mayor and chief of police. In the words of Mayor John DeStefano, “Officer Picagli was more than a cop. He was someone who brought people together, who created a sense of community… His basic decency will keep his memory vibrant in our city.”
A copy of the obituary for Officer Picagli, which we obtained by fax from the New Haven Police Department, can be viewed after the jump. It contains information about funeral arrangements and memorial gifts in lieu of flowers.
ATL sends its sympathies and condolences to the Picagli family.
Injured Police Officer Dies In Hospital [Hartford Courant via How Appealing]
Youth Officer Loses Struggle After Being Struck by SUV [New Haven Register]
Police Officer Dan Picagli [The Officer Down Memorial Page]
Earlier: An Update on Officer Picagli and Judge Walker
Judge John M. Walker Hits Police Officer in Traffic Accident

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Officer Dan Picagli, R.I.P.”

Today’s papers offer the latest news about Officer Dan Picagli, the New Haven police officer who was accidentally hit by a motorist earlier this week, and Second Circuit Judge John M. Walker, the motorist in question. Officer Picagli remains hospitalized and in critical condition.
The New York Times finally has a brief story on the incident. But the Hartford Courant offers a more detailed account (including some information not contained in prior news stories):

A few blocks from the intensive-care unit where Picagli is being treated for a severe head injury, John M. Walker Jr., a 65-year-old judge, met with investigators at police headquarters to go through a second round of questioning — this time with his lawyer.

The judge was on his way home to Madison in a black Ford Escape when his vehicle struck Picagli while the off-duty cop was directing traffic around a construction site on Wooster Square Park. Chapel Street had been closed to one lane of traffic and as Walker passed through, headed east, at least one driver waiting to go the other way witnessed the crash, police said.

The street was dark but the officer was wearing a fluorescent yellow vest over a long rain coat… “He was clearly seen by other motorists at the time of the accident,” [New Haven] Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said Thursday.

Police have ruled out drugs and alcohol as a cause of the crash, but said they will look at other factors, including speed, in their investigation. The posted speed limit in the area is 25 mph.

Further Update: Officer Dan Picagli, R.I.P.
Vigil Over Injured Comrade [Hartford Courant via How Appealing]
Officer Is Struck by S.U.V. Driven by a Federal Judge, the Police Say [New York Times]
Earlier: More on Judge John Walker
Judge John M. Walker Hits Police Officer in Traffic Accident

judge john m walker jr judge john walker.jpgMore details have emerged concerning the accident in which Judge John Walker (2d Cir.) hit a police officer with his SUV. Here’s the latest news:

A federal judge in a sport utility ran into a police officer directing traffic in the rain, critically injuring the officer, authorities said Thursday. New Haven police Chief Francisco Ortiz said Senior Judge John M. Walker was “very much distraught”over the Tuesday night crash.

Officer Dan Picagli, 38, was in critical condition Thursday at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He had been wearing a black raincoat and a reflective vest when he was hit, Ortiz said.

Ortiz said Walker is cooperating, and police did not feel it was necessary to test him for drugs or alcohol.

Coincidentally, just last month the New York Law Journal published a rather long article reviewing John Walker’s successful tenure as Chief Judge of the Second Circuit. Some excerpts and commentary, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More on Judge John Walker”

judge john m walker jr judge john walker.jpgFederal judges are brilliant people. But they aren’t always the best, or the safest, of drivers. We’ve had the privilege of riding in cars with federal judges, so we know this firsthand. Let’s just say that the reasoning in their opinions is often tighter than their left-hand turns.
Rumor has it that Justice Antonin Scalia can be rather aggressive when behind the wheel of his BMW 525. Some pedestrians fear Justice Sandra Day O’Connor “like a Floridian driver.” And it has been alleged that Judge Robert W. Gettleman (N.D. Ill.), the highly regarded Chicago judge, drives his vintage Porsche “like a cabbie.”
On a more serious note, sometimes placing a federal judge behind the wheel gives rise to tragic consequences. From the New Haven Register:

The motorist who struck and critically injured a city police officer working a traffic detail Tuesday is a senior federal judge in New Haven. John M. Walker Jr., who is in his mid-60s, had been chief judge for the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for six years until Sept. 30, when he assumed senior status.

Police sources said Walker was the driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck Officer Dan Picagli, a 17-year veteran, on Chapel Street in the Wooster Square neighborhood. Picagli, 38, remains in critical condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police are investigating the accident, which happened during a steady rain at 6:30 p.m. No charges have been filed.

Officer Picagli, who works in a youth-oriented policing unit and runs the Police Athletic League, a program for city youths, is well-loved by both his colleagues and the kids he works with.
More about this accident, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Wheels of Justice: Judge John M. Walker Hits Police Officer in Traffic Accident”

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