Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Society • Cop Stepped Over Line

Being a Pastor of Senior Citizens, I was appalled to read a letter to the editor of The Contra Costa Times yesterday (1/27/11). A senior citizen, Christine Wasserbauer of Concord was hurrying home having just exited a bus and crossed in the center of the street after seeing there was no traffic. The street was clear and she proceeded. She had to urgently get to the bathroom due to medications she has to take.

A motorcycle cop, roared into the scene, stopped the woman and lectured her. She explained the situation. Instead of letting her get home, the officer continued to hold her and wrote out a $136. ticket for jaywalking.  Meanwhile, the woman soiled herself, which is extremely degrading and dehumanizing to senior citizens. This thoughless cop delayed her in order to bring in extra cash for his city government. This woman was not doing anything that endangered the community like DUI. She was trying to get home as quickly as possible and made certain the street was clear before crossing.  Again,she had a medical issue. And she was fined $136.00!

This is outrageous. With her limited income, which is being cut further by politicians who have used the money paid in for social security for their own agendas, how can she be expected to fork over that kind of money?  This cop stepped over the line. 
 
Let me be clear that I am a friend of police officers and served as a volunteer police chaplain in New York for several years. But these governments who have run out of money due to their own mismanagement have turned our cops into armed bandits in order to make up their budget shortfalls by sticking it to the citizens via traffic tickets with stiff fines.
 
The actions of this cop is entirely unacceptable. I am calling for an investigation and ask that all police officers be a little more sensitive and compassionate toward non-criminals, especially to senior citizens whose lives are already dififcult.  Ms. Wasserbauer’s ticket must be cancelled immediately and an apology from that motorcycle cop is in order.

Rev. Miles is pastor of senior citizens at Mountain View Christian Center in Oakley, California.

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