The cops raided my wife’s pediatric practice looking for a fugitive, last week.
Actually, let’s put the word “fugitive” in quotes. The story is an eye-opening tale in itself. It’s also a glimpse at how business-as-usual in courts and cop shops around the country screws with people’s lives and alienates the public from those who are allegedly their protectors.
My wife, Dr. Wendy Tuccille, was on her way to the office in Cottonwood, Arizona, when her phone rang. Frantic staff called to tell her that the clinic’s parking lot was full of cops, there to arrest one of her employees, C.H. (it’s a small town so we’ll stick with her initials), on an outstanding warrant.
When my wife arrived she found a gaggle of cops—12 to 15 she told me, some in battle jammies—in plain view at the rear corner of the building. The parking lot was full of police vehicles, in sight of families and children arriving to be seen and treated.
“Who’s in charge here?” she asked, demanding that they move the Fallujah reenactment out of view.
“We were already in the process of moving the vehicles at this time,” Cottonwood Detective Sergeant Tod Moore insisted in a statement to me. “It should be noted only 1 marked police unit was in the main parking lot area of the business.” (The clinic’s staff dispute that point.) Moore also claimed that only 10 officers were present. They included three detectives dressed in civilian clothes—and tactical vests—who arrived to initiate the arrest, joined by seven additional officers, including SWAT members, who transported another suspect with them on the trip to deliver the arrest warrant that the detectives hadn’t brought along.
C.H.’s crime? It was an eight-year-old “amended charge of 28-1381A1 DUI to the Slightest Degree,” according to Court Clerk and Associate Magistrate Anna M. Kirton. Kirton signed C.H.’s release order after my wife paid $1,300 to spare her employee 26 days in jail. More accurately, C.H. was arrested for making only partial payment of the fines and fees she’d been assessed, and for missing a court appointment that she never knew about.