Readers Write: State police harassed visitor to Springfield

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

In June 2010, an article appeared in The Springfield Sun regarding High Street. This article was based on a small group of residents meeting with the mayor, city council and the police department with a list of complaints/frustrations about High Street (loitering, littering, loud music, etc.). The following incident is a result of this meeting and the request by this group for more police presence on High Street and to hit the violators in their pockets where it hurts. Please keep in mind this incident did not occur on High Street, but is a direct result of being seen on High Street.

A man and his son each drove to Springfield for a visit from Tyler, Texas (Their relatives live on High Street). On June 29, 2010, the son was questioned or harassed by the state police while getting gas on Main Street. He drives an older model Lincoln Town Car with Texas license plates (this car was purchased by his father from a 70-year-old man and nothing has been changed or altered on the vehicle). He is not a drug dealer/supplier bringing drugs into Springfield from Texas. He is a young man visiting relatives and friends. He was questioned as to who was in his crew. (What crew?) Accused of not wearing a seat belt, (pumping gas you don’t need one), told his windows were tinted too dark (laws vary from state to state),  accused of not having insurance (his insurance is in his father’s name) and driving on a suspended license (his license was not and has not been suspended). This was not a moving violation stop.

Fortunately, there was a witness to this incident who contacted his father. Unfortunately, he was still taken to jail and released to his father and given a court date of July 19. During the court proceedings, the son was questioned by the county attorney and the father was allowed to speak to the court (father had documentation to dispute the above charges). To make a long story short, there was no case and the charges were dropped. To justify the treatment the son received from the state police, and I am sure to try to prevent a potential lawsuit, the father was asked to provide proof of paying his insurance  (a carbon of the check was not sufficient) by August 16. This was the outcome of 2 1/2 weeks of frustration, anger, anxiety and a visit gone wrong.

To obtain the documentation needed to dispute these false charges, the father returned to Texas and drove back to Springfield. This did hurt his pocket in gas money and time. The above story happened to Herbert Walker, my brother, and his son.

Taxation without representation was quoted in the article by the group’s spokesperson. Is the above-mentioned incident the representation you want from your tax dollars?

I don’t live in Springfield, but I do visit family in Springfield. I do agree High Street has problems, but law abiding visitors and residents should not be subjected to this type of treatment by the local or state police. Holy Rosary’s annual church picnic is Aug. 7. Will road blocks be on High Street again?

Let’s not forget the reason there is a liquor store on High Street. When Springfield became wet and the liquor licenses were being distributed, the residents of High Street supported Gus Cooper to have the area changed from residential to commercial, enabling him to obtain a liquor license. Since that time, the ownership of this same liquor store has changed.

Mildred Walker