Rare is the youngster who doesn’t dream about being a law enforcement officer, heroically protecting the public from the forces of evil. This week brought proof that not everyone relinquishes that fantasy when they hit adulthood, though the imagined service may be a little less laudable.
Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s armed conflicts and the outstanding knuckleheads who decided to enforce laws of their own creation.
Customer nightmare of the week: All the perks, no authority
After pulling over two motorcycles for speeding, a policeman in an unmarked vehicle pulled into Fricker's Restaurant in Clearcreek Township, Ohio, to grab a bite. The manager of the place adhered to his policy of feeding any cop in uniform for free, an age-old industry strategy for scaring off criminals.
The officer didn’t realize that two fellow patrons were off-duty cops who didn’t recognize the man, his uniform or his vehicle. They alerted management and helped give the freeloader the heave-ho, but didn’t mention the ruse back at the stationhouse. Only later did they learn the patron, 25-year-old Cody James Burton, was a serial impersonator who dressed up as a cop, right down to a tailored unofficial uniform, a gun and holster and detachable flashing lights for the roof of his truck.
Burton turned himself into authorities after a manhunt continued for several days, explaining that he pretended to be a cop in hopes of meeting girls. The real police did not reveal the name of the restaurant that Burton had conned.
Customer nightmare of the week #2: Another sort of gun battle
In most jurisdictions that now allow citizens to carry weapons in public places, operators secured a right to exempt their establishments at will and ban guns on the premises. But when a policeman asked a fellow patron of Sam’s Southern Eatery in Jackson, Miss., to leave the place because the customer was carrying a pistol in violation of the restaurant’s policy, trouble erupted.
The patron, Ryan Phillips, contradicted the unidentified officer, insisting that he had the legal right to carry his pistol anywhere as a defense against criminals. Convinced he had the correct read on local statutes, Phillips videoed the confrontation, then went to the local media to publicize what he saw as a violation of his rights.
The firestorm is still raging on social media, providing a preview of what restaurateurs in other areas may soon face. Proposals have already been introduced in several areas to allow residents to carry guns with virtually no restrictions.
Management nightmare of the week: Boobs battle
A restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas, doesn’t dispute the legal right of a woman to nurse her baby in the dining room—but that doesn’t prohibit management from requesting that the woman’s breast be covered, right?
The staff of West Side Cafe and a longtime female guest had differing answers to that question after the nursing mom was asked to be more discreet. So, apparently, did everyone else in the world. The restaurant’s Facebook page drew so many comments that the page was taken down, according to local media. A call went out for nursing mothers to come and feed their tykes openly in the West Side’s dining room during a one-day “nurse-in” protest.
By Saturday, the customer, Rebecca Olson, and the restaurant had smoothed over their differing views, and the owner embraced the nurse-in, suggesting to put a positive spin on the issue.