Residents of Fremont, you can rest easy now.

So the other night, while I was at the SF showing of the celebrated indie flick Firecracker, trying to hide my giddiness over sitting a few feet away from star Mike Patton, my friend, (whom I had incidentally tried to reach that night to join me) was on his way out to the fine ‘burb of Fremont to be the unwitting participant of a police sting. Now I know why he didn’t call me back. He’s been in the clink.

Fremont PD, having already cleared the streets of every rapist, murderer, and thief, has an excess of manpower. They have so much free time, that they actually have to lure non-violent alleged law breakers to their little utopia. Thank you, Fremont taxpayers, for spending your money on saving the greater bay area from the horrors of consensual sex for money.

Read on for a first person account of the incident. I have made only slight edits to protect the innocent pending retention of counsel.

I am writing to you from the Fremont City Jail, where I have been
since last night when I was arrested — I believe on a prostitution
charge, although I was never actually told the cause of my arrest or
what I was being charged with.

The arrest took place around [time] at [local motel]. I am an escort based in San Francisco.
During the time I have practiced this profession, I have never come to
Fremont to see a client in my memory, and I would not have been here
last night if I had not been solicited to come by a police sting
operation.

Yesterday morning I was contacted by a policewoman posing as a client,
who told me that she and her girlfriend wanted to see me that night. She said she was attracted to
what I said in my ad. Shortly after I arrived
and was welcomed into their room at the [motel name], six men burst
into the room. One of them had a big police dog, and another had a
video camera. The two female officers, who had been drinking beer when
they invited me in, immediately got up and left. The intruders
identified themselves as Fremont police. A couple of them started
searching me and going through my things, while another asked me
questions, including whether various things belonged to me, all before
I was arrested or read my rights.

Meanwhile the guy with the video camera was pointing it in my face.
When I asked him who he was filming for, he said KRON TV Channel 4. [BA iStalking, are you listening?] I
told him I didn’t want to be vilified, and asked him to take one of my
business cards and contact me later to get my side of the story. But he
refused, saying “I’m here working with these guys,” or words to that
effect.

Is this kind of refusal to even attempt to report the news in a fair
and balanced manner appropriate conduct by a member of the mainstream
media? I have often seen TV footage of people being arrested and
portrayed as unsympathetic criminals, and wondered, “Why do we never
see these men and women telling their side of what happened?” Now I
know the answer may well be, “Because they are not given the
opportunity to do so.”

But there is something here that people, especially Fremont taxpayers,
should be even more concerned about, and that is misplaced priorities
and waste of law enforcement resources. How many hours of police time
went into finding and selecting my online post, contacting me,
exchanging telephone messages, having seven police officers waiting
around at the hotel for me to show up, taking me to jail and booking me?

Is there so little actual crime being committed by people already in
Fremont — rapes, murders, robberies, and the like — that the Fremont
Police have to resort to luring and entrapping people from out of town
for allegedly planning to participate in peaceful transactions among
consenting adults, in order to justify their salaries and funding?

Sincerely,

[I am withholding the name for the time being -MS]

Fortunately, he did not suffer any permanent scarring during his short stay. I’ll save a couple of choice jailhouse vignettes for another entry/update.

3 Comments so far

  1. cd (unregistered) on December 8th, 2005 @ 9:49 pm

    So your friends affirmative defense is that there is worse shit going down than, well, nevermind . . . .

    Tad weak, don’t you think?

    I happen to agree that there are worse things that probably demand more police attention – but were I counsel here, I’d suggest a far different PR and legal strategy.


  2. Chester (unregistered) on December 8th, 2005 @ 11:51 pm

    I doubt that was meant as a defense. I read it as merely an account of what went down, from their perspective. And the “there is worse shit going down” doesn’t seem to be directed toward clearing personal culpability. Instead it seems to be about clowning on the Fremont Police Department’s odd arrangement of priorities.

    Anyway…if Fremont Police Department dedicated that amount of resources in order to run a low-volume prostitution sting operation is utter bullshit.

    This is the same Police Department that has cited lack of personnel and funding as reasons for why it no longer:
    – Responds to alarms without “Verified Response”.
    – Investigates auto thefts.
    – And a slew of other things listed in the link above.

    So if your alarm goes off, FPD won’t automatically check it out. If your car is jacked, tough shit.

    But if you’re an “escort”, FPD will assign 8 officers to entice you to Fremont in order to bust you. Wonderful. I feel so much safer now.

    Best of luck to your friend in fighting the charge.


  3. Brian Shields (unregistered) on December 9th, 2005 @ 8:05 am

    I will write about this on the Bay Area is Talking later this morning but first I wanted to respond here.

    I watched the piece referenced yesterday and I spoke this morning with our Video Journalist Will Tran about the circumstances of this arrest. Here’s where we stand.

    1. Nowhere in the story do we identify this “suspect” or any of the others either by name or by showing their faces. The only time we see this “suspect”, he is beind led off in handcuffs with his back to the camera at all times. You never see enough of him to identify him as a specific person. It’s hard to “villify” someone whose identity remains protected.

    2. The story does not address the guilt or innocence of any of the “suspects”. It is a story about the Fremont Police operation. Thus it is not journalistically necessary to contact each of the detainees and “get their side” of the story.

    3. The “suspect” offered the business card by telling our VJ to reach into his gym bag and retrieve one. At that time the gym bag and all of its contents were considered evidence by the police. It would have been both wrong and likely illegal for the VJ to have touched the card or any of the other contents of the bag which were in police control.

    KRON 4 fully stands behind the actions of Will Tran and our coverage of this operation. We recognize that there are larger public policy issues involved that were outside the scope of this particular story. We will continue to keep an eye on these issues and do more stories as they occur. However, we have nothing to apologize for in this case.

    Brian Shields
    Online News Manager
    KRON-TV
    kron4.com
    thebayareaistalking.com



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