Opinion

February 6, 2013

Charles Oliver: Boy handcuffed, falsely accused

The family of 7-year-old Wilson Reyes is suing the city of New York and its police department. Family members say police handcuffed Reyes and interrogated him for 10 hours without their knowledge after another child accused him of stealing $5 at school. Another student later admitted taking the money. Police say they held the boy no more than five hours.

The Oregon attorney general’s office is investigating the Sweet Cakes bakery in Gresham. A lesbian couple complained after bakery owner Aaron Klein refused to sell them a wedding cake. State law bans discrimination because of sexual orientation. Klein faces up to $50,000 in fines.

The British Parliament has demanded that police explain why they stole the identities of dead children for undercover officers to use. An investigation by the Guardian newspaper found that police have been using the identities of people who died as children for three decades without informing the parents of those individuals.

A federal judge has sentenced former Camden, N.J., police officer Jason Stetser to 48 months in prison. Stetser pleaded guilty to conspiring with fellow officers to deprive others of their civil rights. According to court documents, those officers planted evidence and threatened to plant evidence on suspects, conducted illegal searches, stole money during searches and arrests, and falsified reports and lied in court to cover those actions.

A St. Louis Applebee’s fired waitress Chelsea Welch for posting a customer’s bill online. A group came into the restaurant for a meal, and when they got their bill they found the restaurant had added an 18 percent tip it charges for large groups. Alois Bell, pastor of a local church, apparently didn’t like that. She crossed out the tip and replaced it with a zero, writing, “I give God 10 percent, why do you get 18?” and signed it “Pastor Alois Bell.” Welch got the bill from the waitress who’d handled that table and posted it online. Welch says that when Bell found out about it she called Applebee’s and demanded that they fire not only Welch but the server and the manager on duty at the time. Applebee’s didn’t fire those other employees. Supporters of Welch note the restaurant has no problems posting customer’s bills when they say something nice about Applebee’s.

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