Expensive bathroom break

July 10, 2009
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A guy gets up to go to the bathroom at the new Yankees Stadium during “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch, is kicked out by the New York Police Department, and makes $10,001 from the incident. His attorneys with the New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation made out even better from the incident: they got $12,000 in attorneys fees from the city of New York.

Bradford Campeau-Laurion filed his suit against the Yankees, the city, and NYPD detectives after the April incident, claiming religious and political discrimination. He agreed to the settlement in mid-June. The Yankees argued they don’t have a policy to throw people out if they moved around during “God Bless America.” According to news stories I’ve read, the Yankees allegedly don’t allow people to leave their seats during the playing of the song.

The police officers who threw the fan out said he smelled of alcohol and was disruptive, so that’s why he got the boot.

Let me get this straight: A guy who gets thrown out of a baseball game for going to pee during a song about God and America nets $10,001?

A) He shouldn’t have been thrown out in the first place because people should have the right to go to the bathroom. Unless he was drunk and causing a scene, (which the city and Yankees claimed, but then settled the suit) why should the police get involved? It’s not un-American to get up and move during a song about America. Is it respectful to stand there quietly while it plays? Yes. But based on what I’ve read about this case, his actions don’t justify being kicked out.

B) This issue ends up in litigation and racks up $12,000 in attorneys fees in two months? Wouldn’t it been cheaper for the city to just apologize and give him free tickets? It would have been cheaper if the city just let him be, but hindsight is 20/20.

And finally, C) Why the extra $1 tacked on to the $10,000?
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  1. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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