|Cell phone image: credit: Carlos Miller/Pixiq|
Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Nowadays, members of law enforcement can get away with just about everything, but apparently the line is drawn when you mow your lawn in your shorts that might look like underwear to some.
That’s right, individuals in law enforcement can get away with murdering the elderly with pepper spray, brutally beating senior citizens suffering from dementia, allegedly holding the elderly against their will and so much more, but not mowing their lawns in their choice of attire.
When police officers attempt to expose the criminal activities of fellow law enforcement, they are quickly targeted for harassment, and in one case a whistleblower was thrown in a psychiatric ward of a hospital for a whopping six days simply for doing his job.
As absurd as it sounds, it is true, and it is evidenced in the case of Bradley County Deputy Dallas Longwith in Bradley County, Tennessee.
The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office dismissed Longwith last year for “conduct unbecoming of an officer,” according to Major Jim Hodgson and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
This dismissal came after the office received two complaints about Longwith mowing his yard in his underwear, although Longwith, a former court officer, maintains that he was not actually wearing underwear.
Hodgson said that Longwith had been warned upon the first complaint and the second complaint came some time in December of 2011 from an unknown individual.
However, Longwith appears to say that he was not even mowing his lawn that month by asking, “Who mows their yard in December?”
No charges were filed against Longwith, instead the department requested that the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission decertify Longwith as a police officer.
The hearing for this request was to occur in Nashville on Thursday, but for some reason which remains unclear, the department withdrew the request.
Longwith, on the other hand, says that his personnel file does not contain a warning or reprimand as claimed by Hodgson.
According to Hodgson, someone sent a cell phone picture of Longwith mowing in his shorts, which indeed look much like boxer shorts, although they’re hardly offensive enough to warrant dismissal, especially when police nationwide are committing legitimate crimes on a near-daily, if not daily, basis.
“We do expect higher standards from anyone who is going to work for the sheriff’s department,” Hodgson said.
Longwith retorted that he has “a pair of comfortable shorts that come to my knees,” which he wears when he does yard work.
If he was mowing his lawn in his briefs, he might deserve a reprimand, but not before every single other individual in law enforcement across the United States was held responsible for their criminal activities.
While decertification is supposedly a routine procedure for anyone who leaves law enforcement, Hodgson said that they recently learned that the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission would not likely decertify Longwith unless he had criminal charges filed against him.
“But that being the case, I felt it would be a waste of the department’s time and the POST Commission’s time to continue this,” Hodgson said.
The dispute dates back to August of last year when a neighbor complained about Longwith’s choice of attire for lawn work.
Longwith said that he knows the neighbor who complained, adding that the individual in question’s father was aware that Longwith was in law enforcement and asked Longwith to keep an eye on his son who reportedly has a criminal past.
The first complaint was investigated by Eric Watson, who at the time was Longwith’s immediate supervisor and a captain with the sheriff’s department.
Watson, who is now a State Representative, said, “He was a well-respected officer. There were no write-ups or reprimands in his file.”
Watson added that the individual who made the first complaint refused to come to the department and actually file a written statement, which, in my opinion, makes the complaint quite dubious.
It would make a lot of sense that someone with a criminal history would not want to go to the sheriff’s office to file a written statement, as the deputies very well might know who the individual is and treat them much differently than an anonymous tipster.
In 2011 Watson stepped down from the department after Sheriff Jim Ruth questioned the amount of time Watson was spending in Nashville.
Longwith is now cooking at a local restaurant and he says that he would like to return to law enforcement.
The fact that a seemingly upstanding officer – something which unfortunately seems to be increasingly hard to come by – would be thrown off the force for mowing the lawn in boxer shorts while others are literally allowed to get away with murder is, in my humble opinion, nothing short of disgusting.
It will be interesting to see if this absurd case gets any notoriety on a national level and if this pressures the department into taking a closer look at the complaints and perhaps reinstate Longwith.
However, based on how little law enforcement agencies seem to actually care about the law these days, I’m not holding my breath.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.