Friday, March 13, 2009

Schmuck Alert: Run for the Border

Courtesy: KNVO TVAs proven by that friend of yours who can never hold his liquor, there's a Schmuck in every bunch. That includes law enforcement, where the efforts and rep of a whole department can be sullied by one cop with too much caffeine on board. Just ask Victor Castillo, an Action 4 News reporter who got cuffed and stuffed while covering a police pursuit in the Rio Grande Valley. Seems a drug investigation ended in a case of bent-sheet metal, creating the kind of scene you might watch on the evening news. That's when our man Victor rolled up with gear in tow and caught sight of cops unloading bundles of marijuana from the freshly-wrecked vehicle. Momentarily confused as to which side of the border he was on, Victor set up his camera on public property and did what a free member of the American media has every right to do: he quietly recorded the unfolding events from a reasonable distance. On its face it all seems pretty innocent, but Victor must have passed gas or made one too many doughnut jokes: for one officer took suddenly decided the Constitution wasn't a good enough reason to let some pesky news photog document the confiscation in question.

After exchanging less than pleasantries, the camera-toting Castillo backed off more than he really had to, but Office Bogart still didn't dig it - so he arrested the young interloper for committing television right there in front of God and everybody. Why the nerve! Anyway, knowing outrage when he saw it, the very angry cop placed the brazen photojournalist under arrest and charged him with interfering with public duties. Considering he was a good deal away from the action and surrounded by members of the public when he was arrested, Victor Castillo shouldn't have too much to worry about. For now though, he's still facing a Class B misdemeanor punishable up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine - all for doing his job. What a country! Maybe someday all badge-wearing individuals will read the memo, brush up on the Fourth Estate or just get a freakin' clue! That way maybe we can avoid these predictable fits of testosterone. Until then, careful where you break out your camera; it just might win you a trip to the pokey. Schmuck!

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