January 13th, 2012 Cottage Grove, Oregon. Public librarians called the police to have a seventy-five year old man arrested for "trespassing". The root of the confrontation was actually that he had no shoes and refused to leave. This is the culmination of several incidents, where he repeatedly asked courteously to be given a sound reason as to _why_ he needed to wear shoes; quite reasonable in my opinion considering the policy was made unilaterally (or inherited) by someone in a position appointed by another position which was appointed! (City manager appoints the library director... maybe we should make these elected positions, eh?)
The only vague answers offered by the staff as why shoes are required were "sanitation" (no clue who's planning to eat off the floor), and then the concern of "liability". Clearly posting a "barefoot at your own risk" sign would be a more logical way to waive liability than arrest someone, to my mind. They also could have asked for people to sign waivers, though there is always some risk to life so this seems excessive.
Truly ridiculous though, is that the jail found it "necessary" to keep him for a WEEK?! Arraignment was today, and though he was released the charge apparently still stands as a violation to which he is pleading not guilty.
This is so obviously draconian that I am genuinely surprised that even a cop would do it. It took three cops and took cars apparently, though there was no violence, or threat of it. This seems identical to persecuting people based on their religion.
There is a plaque on the highway and identical copy in the courthouse proclaiming Cottage Grove, Oregon an "All-America City", which begs the question, is this the same America called "land of
I believe this was an unconstitutional act in view of the 8th amendment prohibiting unreasonably high bail ($5000 is what it was set at), and that it should fit the crime. "Crime" indeed. I wonder who the victim is, besides the taxpayers footing the bill for this ludicrous police activity.
At $130 a day, it's especially surprising they would not accept commissary (outside food for the incarcerated) but insist on feeding the "guilty" out of the pocket of the city, most likely because they make more money this way (obtain funding for food, save some of it off the top). Library director Peter Barrell has assured that the jail is 'not that bad a place' since it was renovated, and that the meals are dietician approved (same line as the cops). When you steal someone's freedom though, you are stealing their TIME. Let's call "arrest" what it is KIDNAPPING, and call this selective use of the law what it is, REPRESSION.
Consider writing a letter to let these officials know what you think of them playing God:
Richard Meyers, city manager (appointed the next listed)
Pete Barrell, library director - Community services director, too, never would have guessed from listening to the guy:
Cottage Grove Police (one of them agreed this was a waste of their time, but couldn't seem to come up with an alternative):
I could not find Judge Richard B. Brissenden's e-mail address, but the court clerk is Kathy Kelty who is reachable at:
A witness to this scene who had walked in barefoot but complied with the regulation by putting on shoes, was still escorted from the library and banned for a week.