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Sonic/Kmart Raid Update

Related Entries:
How Convenient (08-20-02)
Thom Watch (08-21-02)
Aguirre Is Toast (08-22-02)

The latest in the Sonic/Kmart parking lot raid saga is that Sonic officials did not ask for or authorize the HPD goons to arrest their customers (unlike the weenie management at James Coney Island).

The Chron, of course, cannot resist once again identifying who led the raid:

Torres and the hundreds of others in a parking lot shared by the Sonic and a 24-hour Kmart Super Center were the targets of a police raid, led by Capt. Mark Aguirre, to curb illegal drag racing.
And once again, there is not one word devoted to explaining Aguirre's side of the story. Not that I'm defending Aguirre, but wouldn't it be fairly standard journalistic practice for serious news outlets at least to report his side of the story? Then again, I suppose there is no reason to expect balance (or other standard journalistic practices) from the newspaper that is still defending the (alleged) Enron criminals.

Anyway.... Kudos to the Sonic management and employees, who refused to allow police to have their customers' cars towed:

Sonic officials said Thursday that they never complained to police about the regular weekend crowd, had no warning of the raid and ordered employees to protect customers as the operation began.

Dismayed Sonic employees refused to allow police to tow 12 cars that the arrested customers were forced to leave in the lot.

"We wanted the opportunity for our customers to come get their cars without paying towing charges," said Celina Abernathy, a Sonic spokeswoman. Such charges can exceed $100. "Obviously we don't want our customers arrested. That is just common sense."

That's awesome! Awesome enough that I forgive them for taking Pickle-Os off the damn menu. And much better than the jackass manager at JCI, who claimed to be "a victim" after he signed a police complaint form, and police arrested his customers!

(08-23-02 Update) It looks like HPD's goons may have posted the No Trespassing signs (at taxpayer's expense, of course) they used as justification to arrest hundreds of people for no good reason. Excerpt:

Police supervisors, from sergeants up to an assistant chief, have received notices that they're under internal investigation, possibly facing a reprimand or suspension.

Also, the first grand jury subpoenas have gone out.

Meantime, the Harris County District Attorney's office has formally requested from HPD a full accounting of any city funds used to buy the "No Trespassing" signs.

Police usually only enforce signs that business owners put up.

Uh oh! I think more people than Mark Aguirre are going down for this one. Not that one would know it from reading the dreadful Chron. Here's the video coverage from KPRC-2. How sad is it that coverage from the lovely Dominique Sachse (and The Investigators!) trumps coverages from what claims to be a major metro daily newspaper? Very sad, actually.

[Posted at 23:15 CST on 08/22/02] [Link]

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