Advice to the new kids on the block

Fellas, as you show up in Athens this summer, remember this:  nobody is out to get you.  And if you think it’s weird that beat writers and police chiefs have to go out of their way to issue denials like that, well, you’re probably just being a little paranoid.

That being said, if somebody with a badge asks you for your middle name, it’s best to be forthcoming.

About these ads

62 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

62 responses to “Advice to the new kids on the block

  1. Comin' Down The Track

    … and now we wait.

  2. Go Dawgs!

    Nobody it out to get UGA football players. I was traveling and unable to weigh in on the flap last week about John Atkins, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to do so now. Lawmakers in Atlanta decided that seat belt use should be mandatory in Georgia, and they charged law enforcement officers with enforcing that law. There are a lot of incentives from the state and federal governments to conduct seat belt compliance campaigns. Atkins was not wearing his seat belt, and was therefore pulled over (as Chip Towers’ column points out, he was hardly the only one that day).

    What sent him to jail was driving without a license. In years past, officers could write a ticket for that and just send you away on foot if they chose. Let’s make sure this is completely clear, though: in 2013, officers have ZERO discretion on this issue. A few years ago, the Georgia legislature re-wrote the law and made the third violation for driving without a license a felony. That means offenders must be fingerprinted and booked on each instance to track their record. The Attorney General’s Office noted that there still was still not widespread compliance in terms of arresting offenders so they issued a directive commanding all law enforcement in the state to arrest offenders for that violation and make sure it’s documented. Why’s it a big deal? Illegal immigrants, who can’t have valid driver’s licenses in this state. But, that’s an issue for another day.

    While it’s great that Atkins was apparently on his way to get his license situation taken care of, he should have caught a ride with someone else to do so. This arrest is not a big deal and it’s not going to cost him playing time. The cops in Athens are trying to do their jobs. Instead of accusing them of being out to get our student athletes, maybe we should instead direct our ire towards the lawmakers who write these laws. Perhaps we should instead be mad at our student athletes for continually putting themselves in the crosshairs of police.

    • If this were an isolated incident, I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

      I notice you haven’t mentioned anything about being jailed for failure to give a middle name, though.

      • Or the kid busted for “emerging from an alley”, Billy Humphrey getting a ticket for Jaywalking, etc. How many high profile college programs have one of those type of ticky tack problems, let alone a dozen or more laughable criminal offenses.

      • Go Dawgs!

        All I know is that in my town, you see people arrested for giving false name to law enforcement officers daily. And there are good reasons for it. Once a cop has someone who is being evasive about giving their name, they start wondering if the guy’s got warrants or some other reason to conceal their identity. Some communities have fingerprint scanners they can use in the field to check a subject’s ID. Otherwise, they have to do it at the jail. If you’re talking to a police officer, being honest and not concealing your identity is definitely the way to go.

        As far as the posts below, go ahead and stand on the street corner and start looking for seat belt violators. While you’re doing so, see if you can pick out drivers’ faces and profile for football players, You can’t. The Athens cops might not be giving football players breaks because they’re football players (and they absolutely shouldn’t be) but they’re not out to get our players. A friend in Columbus just got a ticket for improper lane change. She doesn’t play football. It’s a ticky-tack thing, but sometimes cops enforce ticky-tack stuff.

        • It’s funny how I’ve never heard about any other CFB player going to jail for failure to give a middle name, if this sort of thing is so prevalent these days.

          • You lawyers need to become law changers not law makers. We have so many F_____D up laws and these monrons that are the POLICE don’t even know what they are doing. I have one song for you. F__k the PO PO by Corey Smith!

        • Hackerdog

          Personally, my feelings on law enforcement are that police should stop crimes from being committed and arrest those who commit crimes. Asking kids for their papers because there might be a bench warrant out for them doesn’t really make me feel any safer. I would rather we had far fewer police so that the ones that remain could focus on public safety, rather than traffic revenue enhancement and middle name enforcement.

    • Dboy

      And what percentage of the total number of citizens that drive w/o a seatbelt do you think get pulled over? I’m just saying there may be an element of profiling going on. Murray and Lynch driving around town w/o seat belts would not likely get stopped. 300 pound African America 20 y/o male driving around Athens will get pulled over for just about anything just to check the car out, no seat belt, busted turn light, scooter exit from and alley. I’ve seen it in my home town. No question it happens. I’m not sure it is targeting the football team per se. But it does seem to target young African American males, who are well represented on the UGA football team. If you ask police, they say that this particular demographic gets pulled over more often b/c statistically, they are more likely to be involved in illegal activity. They use these small things to check out the car and sometimes it works out (ie Crowell) I don’t know. But it is a real phenomenon IMO.

    • Dog in Fla

      “lawmakers who write these laws.”

      Really? In Florida, legislation passed by the Republican-controlled legislature is written by right-wing lobbying group ALEC, which writes it, gives it to them and orders them to pass it. For our legislators writing, like math, is hard but taking orders and money isn’t

      http://www.alec.org/model-legislation/

      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/alec-lobbyist-exemption

    • watcher16

      “While it’s great that Atkins was apparently on his way to get his license situation taken care of, he should have caught a ride with someone else to do so.”

      I think that was my only beef with Chip’s article, that he failed to mention that aspect of it while everyone else made sure to include it.

    • ZappaDawg

      Got a ticket in May as I overlooked license expiring on my birthday. Damn expensive, but I didn’t get arrested.

      • Jimmy Williamson

        You’re saying that a policeman actually showed some judgment and independent thought? Inconceivable!

  3. Dog in Fla

    “if somebody with a badge asks you for your middle name,” give it and don’t follow it with, “that’s not my name,” because no one can take a joke anymore

  4. Irwin R Fletcher

    Can’t UGA just hire Michael Clayton?

  5. SMBlues

    Having done a number of “ride alongs” with the ACC PD during my time at UGA, I can say without a shadow of doubt in my mind that the cops in Athens were in some respects out to get the football players. I wouldnt go so far as to say they were actively targeting players trying to get them in trouble, but if they caught players doing even the slightest thing wrong they were all over it and no benefit of the doubt would be given, and there was certainly an extra bit of excitement on the radio and it was specifically noted when football players were involved in something,

    • Normaltown Mike

      Which players did you see harassed in your “ride alongs”?

      And what Athens radio station were you listening to that covered football player arrests with baited breath? Bulldog 103 with Buster P. Wafflehouse & Joe Mama? WUGA “The Classic” with John Gaither & Chris Shupe?

  6. cube

    Regardless of whether the local cops are targeting athletes, they’ve been obsessive about enforcing ticky-tack bullshit for a number of years now.

    As for the UGA PD, I guess when your jurisdiction is limited to a relatively small area and you don’t have many serious crimes to investigate, you’ll do whatever you have to do to justify your bloated existence. Other university police forces don’t seem to be this out of control…but then most other universities aren’t run by a fascist regime either.

    As for the ACC PD, they definitely like to focus on the low hanging fruit of downtown and the student community and all the minor bs that goes with it, instead of focusing on the more serious/violent crimes that are often specific to the poorer areas. Oh, and they also have the backing of the fascist UGA administration as well.

    Gotta enforce the crap out of minor bullshit in the student community. That’s what Adams and his backers in the Board of Regents want. They’ve always thought this is a key part of turning us into the “Harvard of the South”.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Don’t you mean that Harvard is the “Georgia of the North”? :)

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Well Cube…. don’t know if you live in Athens or not …but I do. ACC PD have their hands full policing high crime areas. If they get too attentive all kinds of interpretations and accusations get brought up. They’ve even been placed under a ” lot pressure” in those pockets of crime areas “while trying to do their job and protect victims”. For its population Athens is one of the poorest counties in our nation.

      • cube

        “ACC PD have their hands full policing high crime areas.”

        If they have their hands full policing high crime areas, how is it that they’re able to go bonkers enforcing a bunch of minor, petty bullshit?

        • AthensHomerDawg

          “they’re able to go bonkers enforcing a bunch of minor, petty bullshit?”
          Really? You hangin’ with Testicles at the pipe too long or what? That’s the law sir. You don’t wear a seat belt you get stopped. You don’t have a DL you go downtown. Game, set, match. The folks that write the laws that we elect said so. DO NOT STOP AT GO …. GO DOWNTOWN>.
          Cuff ‘em ! Yeah seems over the top but that is the deal. Bottom line is that anyone that gets into the University of Georgia should have his paperwork in order. K? All of it. Whatever “it” might be. A favorite ploy of the competition building multifamily in Athens was to call the ICE and slow your project down. I have built multifamily in Athens …. and my rule was: your company run it your way – but do not slow my project down because you chose to break the rules. It’s a given that they were very creative.

          • Dog in Fla

            “paperwork in order. K? All of it. Whatever “it” might be.”

            That’s nothing. Try building in Santa Monica sometime

            • AthensHomerDawg

              Try building in ACC. ;-) Manuel Antonio is easier and that is in a National Park in another country.

          • cube

            You’ve managed to miss the point of the post and 95% of the comments. Congrats.

          • Hackerdog

            Hey, immigration laws must be enforced. You love the law. All of the law, right? Well, that’s part of it. Sure, it slowed your projects down for no good reason. Sure it cost you money. But the law must be followed.

            Don’t go telling me that people should use discretion in passing and enforcing laws. Because that’s just crazy talk.

      • Dog in Fla

        “For its population Athens is one of the poorest counties in our nation.”

        Broun is on it!

        http://www.paulbroun2014.com/irspoll/

        Are the poors eligible to vote in his poll?

        • AthensHomerDawg

          No he is not…. and neither is anyone else. We continue to be a county of the haves and have nots. And THAT is troubling.

  7. Bulldog Joe

    Clarke County jails over four times the number of underage drinkers Fulton County does. Fulton County has many more colleges and universities and nine times the population.

    It’s always springtime in Athens!

  8. WillTrane

    Could they not have dialed up NSA, IRS, or some other State or Federal agency…plus more than likely he is registered for the draft or listed as a potential state jury. Even if he could not remember someone in the see all, know all government would damn sure have it. Borders on harassment!

  9. Scott

    UGA police conduct an inordinate amount of road blocks/ checkpoints. I was looking at their weekly arrest logs, and I was surprised at the number of arrests that occur as a result of these checkpoints. I doubt other college campus police departments make it a habit of conducting checkpoints.

  10. Gravidy

    Wow. That was some impressively whiney navel gazing by Mr. Towers. It was some mighty impressive reporting as well. He knows for a FACT that the university police don’t target athletes. How does he know this with such certainty? He asked them, by God!!

    I’ll just bet that Mr. Towers thinks my opinion is worthless because I haven’t been in the journalistic arena. Damn. Just damn.

  11. Scott

    Univ of Florida Police (90 officers- same as UGA) publishes its crime stats. It only arrests a tiny percentage of students it cites for underage possession of alcohol or intoxication. Most are simply given citations. See link:for some stats from football weekend crime stats. http://www.police.ufl.edu/mediapublic-information/press-release-gameday-stats-archive-2012/