What's in a word?

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's in a word?

Now I know that Southampton Press reporter Will James doesn't write the headlines for either the print or web edition of the news­paper, so this is probably not his doing:

Embattled Westhampton Beach Village Police Officer Facing Additional Charges

"Embattled?"

Strictly speaking, the use of the word is not inaccurate, but it evokes a certain sense of sympathy when the media uses it, conveying a "Charlie Brown1" quality to the subject.

Perhaps once when this entire sordid cloud first appeared above the Westhampton Beach Police Department, and Officer Joseph Pera­pane had that solitary charge leveled against him following a lengthy Suffolk County Police Internal Affairs investigation, but not now, especially following the new charges.

When the news first broke in October 2009 that Pesapane had been charged with one count of "lying" compared to eight various counts2 filed against Officer Michael Bruetsch, one could feel a little sad for the younger, less experienced officer.

After all, the fabled "Blue Wall of Silence" is not easily violated, and as more details of the investigation became known, it seemed as if Pesapane had been attempting to help out a fellow officer who may have precipitated the entire matter as a poorly conceived "gag."

But Pesapane, who was afforded numerous op­portunities to "help himself," elected to stay in stone-wall mode, apparently because of assur­ances that Trustees Joan Levan, Hank Tucker and Jim Kametler were going to make any un­pleasantness "go away."

Somewhere along the line, Pesapane had to have seen that the affair of the pilfered pistol was not going away3, yet he not only stayed with his original tactic, but he has utterly failed to recognize that he really needs an attorney of his own, rather than "share" one, William Keaton, with Bruetsch.

Now, already involved in the disciplinary hear­ing over the first single charge from 2009, he's been suspended without pay for a second time over three additional charges: two counts of making false statements and one of intention­ally providing false or incomplete information to investigators.

And those two new "false statements" were allegedly made in July, after 2010's elections which saw a significant realignment of the Village Board.

Just how foolishly obdurate Pesapane will con­tinue to be, remains to be seem.

But "embattled?" Not when it's entirely of his own doing.

Note
  1. As in "Why is everbody always picking on me?"
  2. Three counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer and five counts of lying.
  3. That Pesapane is still enmeshed in the disciplinary hearing involving his original charge, in police work would be called "a clue."

Comments

1. Hambone said...

I realize he has only been charged and not found guilty, but has there been any hint that cases in which Officer Pesapane testified are going to be retried? If I were a criminal or a reasonably intelligent attorney I would look to argue that his testimony is suspect because he clearly is comfortable lying under oath. If that proves to be the case an officer whose word is no good is completely useless except as a traffic cop.

So you watch re-runs of L&O, too.
Dean

2. Dune Mind said...

"...An officer whose word is no good?" Hambone, no one found to have that level of disregard for both the law and standards of workplace conduct should even be directing traffic, unless it's within the context of the community service portion of his sentence. No badge and no paycheck. Period.

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