When it comes to scalping tickets, the roles of cops and robbers always get twisted and turned around. Still, there’s little question that this is a new low for police officers everywhere: Not only did St. Louis police take 2006 World Series tickets out of the hands of a Dallas scalper, they took all the money he’d made, too.
According to this story in the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, suburban Dallas native Eric Johnson had all of his tickets and money seized when he was accosted by police while trying to re-sell tickets to Game 5 of the 2006 World Series, where the Cardinals beat the Tigers to win their most recent world championship. The report on the incident was released thanks to plenty of gumshoe work from Anthony Rothert, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri who agitated for the findings of an inter-departmental investigation.
In fact, it’s those findings that shed the most stunning light on this incident: The tactics that were used on Johnson are, in fact, the exact strategy that St. Louis cops have been using to filch money out of drug dealers for years.
That’s right folks, St. Louis cops will disabuse anyone of their civil liberties for a few bucks, and then their departmental cronies will wipe away concerns over a lawsuit with the old “inconclusive evidence” trick. Now the officers in question may be up the creek, if the most recent statement from the St. Louis Police Department are any indication. On Wednesday, a spokesperson said that internal investigations couldn’t prove the incident didn’t happen.
(Johnson was in the slammer by the time this went down.)
At the time of the incident, Johnson was smart enough to put all the evidence out in the open, so that it would have to be addressed in any subsequent independent police report. While being cuffed, Johnson reportedly told the officers, “I know exactly how much I have and I don’t trust any of you.” No huge shock, then, when he was right: He submitted $2,590 and received exactly $539 back.
Oh, and the receipt that officers said he’d receive after handing over the money when he arrived at city jail? Yeah, Johnson never got that, either.
Clearly the St. Louis Police Department has an issue, and it sounds an awful lot like Rothert is going to take it to the cleaners.
“It’s not really remarkable that a police department as large as ours would have some malfeasance or illegal activity going on, but the issue raised in this situation is whether or not there is a system in place that they can adequately and properly investigate it,” Rothert said.
In case you don’t speak legalese, that’s official terminology for “These guys are @$$hole$, and I want all their criminals behind bars and the money they stole returned.” Here’s hoping Rothert pulls it off, and Johnson gets at least a little of what he earned returned, even if he did earn it illegally.