Friday, September 09, 2011

Nappier Incident Not Racial

We can all breathe a sigh of relief. It now appears that the Nappier flapdoodle had little to do with race.

Ms, Nappier told the Hartford Courant reporter Jon Lender that she was stopped by police after she had dropped off a friend and questioned whether being black, in a black car, in a black neighborhood at night might have aroused police suspicions.

It turns out that police were called to the scene for other reasons. According to police union Vice President Nazario Figueroa, officers were dispatched to 385 Barbour Street, a well-known narcotics outlet, for an emergency call the exact nature of which they did not know.

"The car,” Mr. Figueroa told WNPR reporter Jeff Cohen, “is going into this area where we have an unspecified incident call. Most officers need to think out of the box. So she [the female officer responsible for impounding Ms. Nappier’s car] may be thinking maybe this vehicle is related to that call. She's always thought it was kind of suspicious that the car kind of stuck out. So she runs the plate and nothing came back for the plates.

" The officer found no registry file for the plate because there was none.

 Officers on the scene then issued Ms. Nappier a summons and told her she could not drive in what appeared to be an unregistered vehicle, which is standard operating procedure. "They wouldn't do it for anyone else, quite simply. You can't just let somebody drive away in an unregistered car," Mr. Figueroa said.
According to a late Hartford Courant report
“An official involved in the state's vehicle fleet operation had said Thursday that it was a ‘mystery’ that Nappier's vehicle did not show up as registered to the state when the Hartford police ran the license plate through the computerized system. The 2011 car had been issued to Nappier in April, with all proper registration paperwork, so the information should have come up when the police did their check, said Jeffrey Beckham, a spokesman for the Department of Administrative Services, which runs the vehicle fleet. “But the registration failed to check out properly for two reasons: 
“•First, when the police asked Nappier for the registration paperwork, they were given the wrong registration packet; it was for the previous vehicle that she had been using before April, a 2007 Crown Victoria.  
“•Second, it was acknowledged Friday that the state Department of Motor Vehicles had failed to update the registration information for the new car in a computerized "master registration file," which provides the information into which police departments tap when they run license-plate checks.”
Ms. Nappier then decided to hoof it home, having told the Courant reporter that she walked the three miles home because she declined to call anyone.

According to Mr. Figueroa however, Ms. Nappier was offered a ride. "There was (sic) three officers there,” Mr. Figueroa told Mr. Cohen, “they each had offered her a ride to get home and she declined."

In a prepared statement picked up by the Hartford Courant on Saturday, September 10, Ms. Nappier denied that police officers had offered her a ride home:

 "While I expressed frustration after the vehicle's valid registration was not confirmed that evening, it was my decision to walk home. Nonetheless, the police union representative's statement, that all three officers on duty that night offered me a ride home, is a fictitious account of my understanding of the options then before me."

Hartford Courant columnist Kevin Rennie seized upon a statement made by the female officer, since assigned to other duties, as being “potentially lethal.”

 Mr. Figueroa told Mr. Cohen in his interview, “She’s always thought (Rennie’s emphasis) it was kind of suspicious that the car kind of stuck out. So she runs the plate and nothing came back for the plates.”

Was there a single incident, or more than one incident, in which officers saw Ms. Nappier’s new car, assigned to her last April, in a lot known for drug exchanges?

Then too, if “all three officers” had offered Ms. Nappier a ride home, her recollection of the incident as told to Mr. Lender certainly lacked veritas.
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