Linda Cooper: Hadley police overreached in case of Route 9 bicyclist
To the editor:
I read with interest Dan Crowley’s article June 18 entitled “Hadley bicyclist’s rights case rolls on in federal court.”
Let us not be distracted. This is not about bicyclists. The real issue is whether police, entrusted by their community to “protect and serve” and designated by the local government to enforce state and local laws, honored those commitments. In this instance I believe the Hadley police took advantage of this status.
Their actions created a dangerous situation for the bicyclist, the most serious of which was charging him with illegal wiretapping, a felony carrying a penalty of a $10,000 fine and five years’ imprisonment.
It is hard for me to believe they didn’t know that a recording device has to be hidden in order for the charge to be valid.
The Gazette has reported incidents of harassment and corruption within the Hadley police department and I know of incidents, just within my circle of friends, of police overreach and overreaction in situations where people just going about their business.
While feigning concern about the bicyclist’s safety, police ignored his overtures for a meeting to resolve the issue. Instead they chose to abuse their authority and misuse the legal system through frequent stops, intimidating actions and invalid charges. If this rider was in fact in violation of a transportation statute, they would have charged him.
The only option he has is to seek relief from the court by way of an unconditional restraining order as long as he is not doing anything that is specifically illegal and clearly defined by statute.