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Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Good Cop

If there is one main lesson that I have learned in the last ten years, it is that no matter what the situation and regardless of factual evidence, a cop will always back-up another cop. The perspective is that a fellow officer can't be wrong. It is an "us v. them" philosophy wherein if you are not a cop, you are a perp; period. There are no other options.

Once in a blue moon we encounter someone that is different and doesn't have such a black or white mindset. That person thinks in shades of gray and is open to other possible theories, weighing the evidence without bias or disregard for facts damaging to his own cause. That person is the one that keeps me from despising all cops for the actions of a small group. He is the good cop.

There was a good cop involved in my case. Since I refuse to out him by name, I'll refer to him as "Joe" the good cop.

I had no clue who Joe was or what part he played in my case, but for whatever reason the officer was on the defense witness list as we approached trial time. My attorney never said much about Joe except that he really did not want to be called as a witness; however, would be honest on the stand if he was. My attorney knew that calling Joe as a defense witness would be a career killer for Joe as Joe could counter the testimony of other agents in the case, exposing the group as the liars that they are.

When it was time for the decision, after the prosecution had presented its case, my attorney stated that we didn't need to call Joe, but could if I wanted to as long as I realized the repercussions that Joe would face for his honesty. Steve (my attorney) didn't feel that the prosecution had presented a valid case, and if we didn't call any defense witness except me, the defendant, he would have the final fifteen minutes to address the jury. That is how Florida trial law works and Steve felt that he needed the last word in the courtroom so I agreed. Joe never had to testify and I learned little about Joe until several months after the trial was over and I was acquitted by the jury.

My chance encounter with Joe came late one night when my son was outside our apartment building talking on his cellular phone. You see, the building is concrete block and most wireless phones do not work well inside and drop calls. Apparently there had been some issue with people in a nearby building selling drugs – I mind my own business and do not really care unless it affects me, and it did that night as Joe and two other cops were bothering my son for standing outside.

I immediately instructed my son, then 15, to not speak to the officers. Joe is a big guy, perhaps 6'8 to 6'10", and jumped right in front of me. He demanded, "Who are you? His lawyer?" I responded that, no, I was his mother, he was 15 years old, and they did not have my permission to speak to him. Even at 15 my son was big, around 6'2", so this most likely surprised the officers.

Joe practically screamed down at me, "How about if I arrest you for obstruction of justice?" I responded in a calm and quiet voice that he must do whatever he felt he had to do, and I would respond accordingly. Suddenly Joe stepped back, looked at me questioningly, and asked: "What is your name?" I responded that my name is Vicky Gallas. That moment it all transformed into something like a reunion between two people that never met, but realized that they knew plenty about each other.

Joe informed me that he was in charge of the task force in Brevard County that worked with Orlando/Orange County's MBI in my case. Agent misconduct was not appreciated by Joe, and he actually resigned from his position on the task force to get away from the bad cops at the MBI. It was all the more believable as Joe was driving a patrol car that night. Demoted to patrol cop for his refusal to watch fellow agents commit various acts of misconduct, Joe and I developed an unspoken understanding of the lasting effects that bad cops can have on a victim.

Joe is the only good cop that I have ever encountered in my life. Unwilling to back his fellow agents in a false persecution, he stood alone, obeying the law that he swore to uphold and defend. Joe the good cop will always be my hero.

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