Kimberly White letter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Memphis reader questions priorities of Batesville cop

Having read both The Panolian’s article about Ridge Simmerman as well as his parents’ “Letter to the Editor,” I have come to one conclusion:  The city of Batesville needs to get its priorities in order. 

Should the city police officers loiter around Walgreens cruising the toilet paper aisles for teenagers in search of some Halloween fun, or should they patrol the city pursuing legitimate crimes against its citizens? 

This officer may be one who has had a distinguished reputation and made hundreds of great law enforcement decisions as an employee of the city and its taxpayers; however, that simple fact does not preclude him from making one poor decision on October 31, 2011, and that, simply put, is what he did. Arresting a young man for possession of toilet paper and not coming when called is an example of poor judgment, excessive force, and gross misuse of power. 

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To my knowledge the officer did not know this young man personally and wasn’t calling him by name.  In a parking lot and while accompanied by adults, is it so far-fetched to imagine that there were others there to whom the officer’s calls could have been directed?

I’ve read through the Panola County Sheriff’s reports dating back from the summer and found that of those who were charged with disorderly conduct, 100% were arrested under that charge because they were drunk, arguing with an officer, or resisting arrest. 

Ridge Simmerman’s “disorderly conduct” was deemed such for the opposite reason: not coming when called.  There is nothing disorderly about not realizing a police officer is talking to you when you are buying toilet paper with adults.

 I live in Memphis, and I am thankful that the policemen here understand where they need to concentrate their efforts in addressing crime.  If the policemen in the city of Memphis spent their time chasing teenagers who were planning to roll houses on Halloween, I can safely say that the citizens of this city would riot. 

According to the Panola County Sheriff’s reports, policemen should be dealing with the growing number of DUIs, domestic disputes, drug deals, and aggravated assaults; they shouldn’t waste taxpayer money waiting in parking lots harassing teenagers.

Kimberly White
Memphis, TN