Charleston, South Carolina There seems to be a mood in our society lately for bashing cops. Hell, I have even participated in it when they have obviously gone out of their way to whip up on some poor bastard who irritated them, but was in no way a threat. And they are ready made targets. Their training emphasizes asserting authority and control on situations, and they come to expect instant submission. Most drunks and ne’er do wells have known this for forever, and to avoid a predictable Saturday night ass-stomping, comply with the nice officers with “yes sirs” and “no sirs” all around.
But what happens when this irresistible force is met with an immovable object that is used to getting its way – who feels that laws and rules are for lesser men? Ted Zellman is just such an individual, and as you will see, its Cops – 1, Asshole – 0. Or in other terms “Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do Not Collect $200.”
You see, Mr. Zellman is a retired commodities trader. He is 50 years old. And retired. I don’t like this prick already. I’m sure you come into contact with guys like this occasionally. They are very good at what they do. They are powerful within their own realms; used to getting respect and expecting prompt attention to their slightest whim. The problem with them, as I am sure can be attested to by any average Joe who has come across them, is that they think skill and dominance in one area of their life translates to all other aspects as well.
So we have a classic confrontation setting itself up here. A guy with handcuffs who’s not used to people telling him no, against a guy with attitude who’s not used to people telling him no. Turns out, the guy with the handcuffs wins!
Ted’s story starts when his wife is knocked akimbo by a rowdy horse while the couple were on vacation in Charleston. She suffered some surface wounds, and the travelers retreated to a restaurant to recover. While waiting for a table, Ted decided he would take a walk down the street to check out the neighborhood.
Wait a moment. Your wife has just been run over by a god-damned horse, and you leave her to hold your place in line while you take a stroll? What a dick!
About a block from the eatery Ted purchased a bottle of Red Stripe beer. (Is there anything about this guy that doesn’t just scream Douche!.) He opened it and proceeded to continue his tour. Now I ask you, is walking around town in a metropolitan area with an open beer ever OK? It’s not OK in Charleston, nor is it OK in Ted’s home town of Coral Gables. The Charleston neighborhood they were in has been having problems with that lately, and they’re cracking down. So I guess Ted had a bit of bad luck in his timing. He was spotted by the police drinking from his beer-in-a-paper bag, and stopped. What an amateur! A paper bag? Really?
What happened next is a matter of debate. Ted is, of course, claiming he was the perfect gentleman. In his defense, there is no mention of his being uncooperative in the police report. However, it is documented that he was cursing at the officers. The context of the foul language is also in dispute, but I can see no legitimate reason why profanity is ever necessary, and I can’t see how it could ever help in a dispute with the local constabulary. What kind of self-absorbed asshole curses at the police in a strange town and doesn’t foresee a problem? A clue to his demeanor is evinced by the addition of three more patrol units. Yeah this guy was so cooperative and docile that the arresting officer called for back up!
Ted’s story ends as he is trundled off to jail to be processed. He was released on a $226 cash bond. It would be a nothing little police beat blurb, if it weren’t for his reaction to the incident. He claims that the officers actions were excessive, and that now he has been photographed and fingerprinted like a criminal! Boo fucking Hoo ya spoiled putz. Welcome to the real world. If you break the law, you are liable to be arrested. If you’re a dick to the cops, you WILL be arrested. Deal with it. Learn from it. Own it. And by all means, Quitcherbitchin.
The local media, and some national blogs, have made Ted a cause celeb, pointing up the draconian approach of over-zealous law enforcement. Bullshit! Did he get his fingers stomped and head kicked in? Was he busted up with a billy-club and thrown face down in the back of a squad car? Nope. And this guy was not an innocent bystander. He broke the law. He admits to knowing he was wrong (see source). The fact that he was drinking the beer from a hobo-coolie-cup to hide it speaks for itself. But he thinks he should have gotten a warning, or maybe a ticket. And he is whining to everyone that will listen.
I think it is ridiculous for a suspect in a crime, even one as minor as an open container, to try to dictate the consequences of their misdemeanor. But then again, I’m not a Captain of Finance, so my reasoning is probably flawed. And as far as lessons are concerned, I am sure the day spent at the Charleston pokie has taught our young AARP member basic manners, and relieved him of that onerous sense of entitlement, better than a sack full of $100 tickets ever could. Consider it public service, you pompous prick, and call it a day.