Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Author: John J. Scotese


Your article Saturday about how a reverse drug sting at a local
McDonald's went out of control was very disturbing. Yes, I am a
criminal defense attorney. However, as a citizen and member of our
community, I was outraged. What were the Sarasota police thinking when
they decided to sell drugs in a crowded McDonald's?

Police Chief Peter Abbott said it was too dangerous for police
officers to conduct these types of operations in remote areas. If
these types of operations are so dangerous, does Abbott believe it is
acceptable to essentially use our citizens as human shields?

Is our community's view of illegal drugs so skewed that we are willing
to allow the police to place us and our children at risk in an effort
to enforce the drug laws?

Are we going to remain silent as law enforcement agencies sell drugs
and make arrests in places where our children congregate? Where does
the citizenry draw the line on where and when the police can conduct
these types of operations?

It cannot be emphasized enough that the police, in the operation at
issue, were not getting illegal drugs out of the community. The police
were the sellers. One should further consider the terror the adults
and children at McDonald's experienced at the sight of armed, masked
detectives barging into the restaurant, shouting orders to get under
the tables.

In my view, the risks involved outweigh any possible

John J. Scotese

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